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Full text of "History of Columbia County, New York. With illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers"

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We present to the public this history of Cohimbia County — tlie result of much labor and research— 
with a feeling of confidence, tempered by a consciousness of unavoidable imperfection. 

To write a truthful history of any county or section of country is never a light or an easy task ; 
but it becomes peculiarly onerous in the case of a county like Columbia, whose annals extend through 
more than two and a half centuries, and whose story must commence far back in the dimness of that 
^ ancient time wlien the dusky 3Iohicans first welcomed the pale-faced voyagers from beyond the sea. 
\« In such a field we have not expected to achieve absolute perfection and completeness of detail, but 

\»^v we have used our best endeavors to approximate as nearly as may be to that result. We have con- 
sulted many of the best and most reliable historical works bearing upon the subject, and have spared 
no labor in gathering material from the most thoroughly informed citizens of the county; and in 
these researches we have not been more anxious to collect all obtainable facts than to exclude every- 
thing of doubtful authenticity. 

The most difficult part of this, as of all similar works, is the obtaining of correct knowledge of 
the dates of first settlements, and the names of those who made them. Accounts of these are in most 
^ cases — especially in a region so anciently settled as Columbia County — transmitted through the medium 
of tradition ; the different statements almost invariably disagreeing in material points, and not infre- 
quently being wholly irreconcilable. In these extreme cases the historian has no resource except to 
give the differing accounts for what they are worth, and to submit the question to the judgment of 
the public. 

Another source of perplexity is found in the changes in orthography of many of the old names, 
particularly those of Dutch or of Indian origin, though it is by no means uncommon in those of the 
English. In old colonial records we not only find that, through the carelessness, caprice, or igno- 
rance of the scribes of those days, names of persons and places are differently spelled by different 
writers, but that as many as four different orthographical constructions of the same word are some- 
times found in the same document; so that, in more than one instance, we have found it extremely 
difficult to decide which manner was the proper one to adopt. 

It seems unnecessary to say more in presentation of our work to its patrons. They will judge 
^ it upon its merits, and we trust it will meet their approval. It has been our design to trace in it the 
progi-ess of the county of Columbia in such a manner as to show clearly to the reader of the present 
day its gradual development from the original wilderness, and through the maturing stages of its ex- 
j istence, up to its present condition of enlightenment and prosperity, and to illustrate in plain and simple 
I story the privations, the virtues, the piety, patriotism, and enterprise of her people. How far we have 
I succeeded in accomplishing this purpose, the public verdict will decide. 


To those who have kindly given us their aid in the collection of material for the work, we desire 
to express our thanks ; and among these we would mention in general the pastors of the churches, 
the gentlemen of the Columbia County Medical Society, the editors of the different journals, and the 
county officers. We are also under special obligations to the following gentlemen and others through- 
out the county for courtesies and favors extended, and for valuable information, both oral and written : 
Hon. Edwin C. Terry, Hon. Darius Peck, Stephen B. Miller, Esq., Henry Hubbel, Esq., Peter M. 
Jordan, Esq., Hon. John Cadman, Hon. Sherman Van Ness, Hon. Levi F. Longley, E. C. Getty, 
Esq., William Bostwick, Esq., Hon. Cornelius H. Evans, Hon. Jacob W. Hoysradt, M. Parker Wil- 
liams, Esq., William Bryan, Esq., Hon. Theodore Miller, Hon. John C. Newkirk, Benjamin F. Deiieli, 
Esq., Eobert B. Monell, Esq., Wheeler H. Clarke, Esq., F. F. Folger, Esq., C. P. Collier, Esq., 
C. C. Terry, Hudson ; Charles Wild, W. H. Silvernail, Augustus Wynkoop, Wm. H. Atwood, Prof 
Taylor, Kinderhook ; H. W. Livingston, Mrs. Johnson, W. H. Washburne, Livingston ; Edward 
Kellogg, Samuel A. Curtis, Dr. M. L. Bates, Eev. Geo. W. Warner, H. Cady, Canaan ; Hon. Hugh 
McClellan, Geo. E. Burrows, John J. Van Valkenburgh, Wm. Thomas, David Ray, C. B. Hudson, 
G. W. Lay, Horace Peaslee, Dr. J. T. Shufelt, Dr. Richard Peck, Chatham ; Hampton C. Bull, Henry 
A. Tilden, John Kendall, the Community of Shakers, New Lebanon; Jacob W. Rossman, Vrooman 
Van Rensselaer, C. H. Stott, Stockport; Captain A. Davis, Stuyvesant ; Hon. John F. Collin, Hillsdale; 
Tobias Esselstyn, E. G. Studley, Nelson P. Aken, Henry P. Horton, Rev. A. Flack, G. W. Phillip, 
Claverack ; Wm. H. Wilson, Wm. L. Fraleigh, W. H. Rockefeller, M. Fingar, Clermont ; Hon. 
J. T. Hogeboom, George G. Macy, Cornelius Shufelt, Dr. P. W. Mull, Ghent. 




I.— Geographical and Descriptive . . . . 
II.— The White Man's First Visit, and the Indians v 







Town of Kindcrhook 

■' Claveraok 




" Chatham 

III.-Land-Grants— Purchases from Indians 
IV.— Earliest Settlements in the County 




" New Lebanon ' . . 



" Canaan 





" Sloekport 

" Sluvvcsant 



X The Columbia Civil List 

" Greenport 

" Hillsdale 

" Austerlitz 


XL— Distinguished Men of Columbia County 


'■ Tagbkanic 

" Ancrani 

" Gallatin 


Patrons' RKCORn 


XV.— Manufactures and Agriculture . 
XVI.— Valuations and Taxation .... 
XVII Military 






Map of Columbia County facing 9 

Indian Title "15 

Fao-simile of Capt. Richard Esselstyn's Commission " 32 

Portrait of Elisha AVilliams 83 

" Judge Robert R. Livingston 86 

" Robert R. Livingston (the Chancellor) ... 87 

" Edward P. Livingston 89 

" Ambrose L. Jordan 95 

" Samuel J. Tilden (steel) . . . between 104, 105 

" John Van Ness Philip 105 

" Edward P. Cowles 108 

" Hon. Henry Hogeboom .... facing 112 


Residence of H. A. Du Bois facing 162 

Portrait of John Van Dusen ..... " 162 

" Hon. Chas. L. Beale .... "168 

Hon. H.arper W. Rogers . . . . • " 172 

" Robert Vf. Evans "178 

" E. Gilford "184 

" Stephen L. Magoun .... "192 

" John Stanton Gould .... "198 

" Hiram Gage "202 

" Hon. Theodore Miller (steel) ... " 207 

" Stephen Augustus Du Bois 209 

" Hon. Jacob W. Hoysradt (steel) . . facing 210 

M. Parker Williams 211 

" Hon. Darius Peck (steel) . . . facing 212 
" Hon. Jacob Ten Broeck 213 

it of John H. Overhiser 
Charles Esselstyn 
Hon. Cornelius H. Evans 
John Gaul, Jr. Bryan 
Hon. Robert McKinstry 
Mrs. Sally McKinstry 


Collier 218 


Residence of James Mi.^ .... 
Portrait of John Thompson Wendover 
Residence of C. H. Housman 

" (Rear View) 

" Charles Wild 

" David #. Gardenier, with Portrait 

Portrait of Nathan Wild 

between 226, 227 

. " 226, 227 

facing 228 


Residence of Nelson P. Aken (double page) . between 236, 237 
Bird's-eye view of Philmont and Mellenville (double 


" 238, 239 

" Upper Hosiery-Mills," Nelson P. Aken . 

. facing 242 

"Lower Hosiery-Mills," Nelson P. Aken . 

" 242 

Residence of M. Martin 

between 244, 245 

Thomas Carroll .... 

" 244, 245 

" Mrs. Catherine Bushnell . 

" 244, 245 

J. W. Lockwood .... 

" 246, 247 

" belonging to Philmont Paper Company 

. " 246, 247 



Residence of David Crego 
" and Hosiery-Mill c 

Portrait of James Aken 
" Nelson P. Aken 

Residence and Mills of S. K. 



Residence of W. D. Stewart 

Bullis Brothers' Paper-Mills and Property 

Residence of George Chesterman 

Portrait of James T. Shufelt, M.D. . 

Residence of William Irish (with portraits) 

Maiden Bridge Mills and Property, owned by 

H. W. Peaslee (double page) . 
Residence of Noadiah M. Hill . 
Portraits of Henry Hill and Wife 

" Bradley Nichols and Wife 

Portrait of H. W. Peaslee (steel) 

Mrs. H. W. Peaslee (steel) 
Portraits of Daniel Reed and Wife . 
Residence of David Ray (with portraits) 
Portrait of P. F. Cady 
Residence of J. H. Angell (with portraits) 
" John W. Blunt . 

between 246, 24/ 
facing 249 

facing 2S4 
between 286, 287 
" 286, 287 
" 2S8, 289 
" 288, 289 

. " 290, 291 

facing 292 

between 294, 295 

" 294, 295 

" 296, 297 

296, 297 

between 300, 301 
300, 301 


Residence of H. L. Brown 

The Tilden Homestead 

Portrait of Hon. Ransom H. Gillet . . . . 
Residence of John Kendall (with portraits) 
Portraits of Samuel and Ira Hand . . . . 
Residence of Franklin Hand (with portraits) . 

" Mrs. Hannah E. Hand (with portraits) 

Portrait of William B. Cole 

I of 11. A. Tilden 

between 300, 301 
. facing 302 


Portrait of Asa Douglas 

" Daniel D. Warner . 

Residence of Miss Sarah Warner 
Portraits of Samuel A. Barstow and Wife 
Portrait of Daniel S. Curtis 

reen 320, 321 ' 

320, 321 

320, 321 

facing 324 

. 328 

Portriiit of Samuel A. Curtis 329 

Lorenzo Gile, M.D 330 


Farm Residence of C. Jacobie facing 332 

Residence of David Crapser " 332 

" and Fruit Farm of Townsend Powell . " 338 

Portrait of George T. Powell "338 

" Hon. John T. Hogeboom (steel) . . " 342 

Hon. John Cadman 345 

Hon. Hugh W. McClellan (steel) . . facing 346 


Residence and Mills of C. H.& F. H. Stott . . facing 349 

Portrait of B. Reynolds between 350, 351 

Empire Loom-Works(R.Reynolds'Sons,proprietors). " 350,351 
Residence and Paper-Mill of J. W. Rossman . . facing 352 
Portrait of Jonathan Stott .354 


Residence of Levi Miihiim facing 356 

Residence of Mr 


izabeth Hollenbeck (with portraits) facing 


Residence of C. M. Bell . 

" George M. Bullock 

Portrait of E. W. Bushnell 

" Catharine Bushnell . 

Residence of E. W. Bushnell . 

" John F. Collin (with portrait) 

J. P. Dorr 


Residence of Thomas Slocum (with portraits) 
Portrait of Dan Niles .... 

feen 370, ; 


Portrait of Alfred Douglas, Jr. . 


Residence of Samuel L. Myers (with portrait) 




Martin Van Buren 

. 82 

John P. Van Ness .... 


Elisha Williams 

. . . 83 

William P. Van Ness 


Judge Robert R. Livingston .... 

. 85 

Cornelius P. Van Ness . 


Robert R. Livingston (the Chancellor) . 

. 86 

William J. Worth .... 


Edward Livingston 

. 88 

Henry Van Schaack .... 


Edward P. Livingston 

. 89 

William Howard Allen . 


William W. Van Ness 

. 90 

David S. Cowles .... 


Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer .... 

. 91 

Ambrose Spencer 

. 91 

James Watson Webb 


Peter Van Sohaack 

. 91 

Samuel Jones Tilden 

between 104, 105 

John Van Buren . . . . . 

. 92 

John Van Ness Philip 


John C. Spencer 

. 94 

John W. Edmonds .... 


Ambrose L. Jordan 

. 94 

William A. Porter .... 


Thomas P. Orosvenor 

. 97 

Edw.ard Pitkin Cowles 


Benjamin Franklin Butler .... 

. 98 

Joseph Gilbert Palen 


James Vanderpoel 


Joseph D. Monell .... 


Aaron Vanderpoel 

. 98 

Killian Miller 




Elias W. Leavenworth 110 

Dr. S. Oakley Vandcrpoel 110 

William H. Tobcy Ill 

Hon. Henry Hogebooni facing 112 

Hon. Charles L. Beale "168 

Hon. Harper W. Rogc's "172 

Robert W. Evans "178 

David Crego 252 

James T. Shufelt, M.D between 288, 289 

Henry Hill " 294, 295 

Bradley Nichols " 294, 295 

Horace White Peaslee 296 

David Ray 298 

Daniel Reed 298 

B. Gifford . 

• ■ • ;: 



William Irish .... 


Stephen L. Magoun .... 

Hiram Gage 

Hon. Theodore Miller 

Samuel Hand . 

" Sf 

The Hand Family 


Stephen Augustus Du Bois 
Hon. Jacob W. Hoysradt . 
Hon. Samuel Anable 

William B. Cole .... 

John Kendall <iMi 

Hon Darius Peck 

Moses Y. Tilden 


Hon Jacob Ten Broeek 

Daniel S. Curtis 



Samuel A. Barstow .... 
Daniel Warner 

John Gaul Jr 

Lorenzo Gile, M.D. . 


John Van Dusen .... 

Hon. John T. Hogebooni . 


Hon. Robert McKiustry . 
Casper P. Collier 


Hon. Hugh Wilson McClellan . 
Townsend Powell 

. .346 

John Thompson Wendovcr 

. . . facing 

R. Reynolds 

between 350, 351 

David W Gardenier 

Elisha W. Bushnell .... 
Hon. John F. Collin .... 


Thomas Slooum 

between .370, 371 


facing 384 

George W. Philip .... 

Nelson P Aken 


Thomas Carroll 

Stephen K. Barton .... 

Alfred Douglas, Jr 

Samuel L Myers .... 


MelianonB. ) 

H I 8 T O E Y 





The county of Columbia is the fifth (counting north- 
ward) in that range of counties of which the Hudson river 
forms the entire western boundary. 

On the north it is bounded by Rensselaer county, on the 
south by Dutchess, which also forms a small part of its 
east boundary. The remainder of its eastern border lies 
against the State of Massachusetts. 

The surface of the county is diversified. There is no 
part of it which can properly be called mountainous, though 
that term is sometimes applied to the eastern portion, which 
is traversed in a northerly and southerly direction by the hills 
of the Taghkanic range, from which, in several places, spurs 
and detached ridges extend for a considerable distance 
westward. A prolongation of the Peterborough ridge 
enters Columbia upon its northern border, but soon di- 
minishes into inconsiderable hills. To the westward of 
these ranges the county is an undulating plateau, which 
extends to the river, there generally terminating in bold 
shores or blufis. 

Of waters, the principal is the majestic Hudson river. 
Its largest tributary from Columbia county is Stockport 
creek (formerly called " Major Abraham's creek"), which 
enters the river about eleven miles below the Rensselaer 
county line. This stream is formed from the Kinderhook 
and Claverack creeks, which, approaching each other from 
the northeast and from the south respectively, unite their 
waters at a point only about three miles distant from the 
great river. It is estimated that these two streams collect 
and pbur into the Hudson through Stockport creek the 
waters drained from fully seven-tenths of the entire area of 
the county. 

Kiaderhook creek takes its rise in Rensselaer county, 
flows in a southerly course into the northeastern part of 
Columbia, where it receives the waters gathered by the 
Wyomanock creek among the Lebanon hills ; then turning 
northwest it re-enters Rensselaer, whence, after being aug- 

mented by several small streams, it returns to Columbia, 
and pursues a general southwesterly course, being joined 
from the south by Kline Kill and Stony creek, and from 
the north receiving the tribute sent by beautiful Kinder- 
hook lake through Valatie Kill ; after which it turns still 
more towards the south, and flows on to its confluence with 
Claverack creek. 

The sources of Claverack creek are in a number of small 
lakes and ponds situated in the eastern and southeastern 
parts of the county. One of the principal of these is Co- 
pake lake, which gives a considerable contribution to the 
southern branch of the creek. The two branches unite near 
the village of Claverack, from whence the course of the 
main stream is nearly north till it meets the creek of Kin- 
derhoo k. 

A cluster of small lakes or ponds, of which some of the 
principal are Rhoda, Snyder's, and Robinson's ponds, lie in 
the southeastern part of the county, near the southwest 
corner of Massachusetts. From these, and from other 
sources farther to the north, among the Taghkanic hills, rise 
the numerous streams which, united, form the creek which 
for two centuries has borne the name of Roeloff Jansen's 
Kill. At first it flows in a southerly direction along the 
base of the Taghkanic liills, then swerves towards the 
southwest until it reaches and barely crosses the south line 
of the county into Dutchess, but immediately returns in a 
northwesterly course to Columbia, where it is joined by the 
waters of the outlet stream of Lake Charlotte, which lies a 
few miles north of the Dutchess line. Beyond this it con- 
tinues to flow in a north-northwesterly direction, receiving 
from the eastward the small stream called Kleina Kill, and 
then entering the river eight miles above the southern line 
of the county. 

Up to and for several miles above this point, the Hudson 
is navigable for vessels of the largest class. The river front- 
age of the county is twenty-nine and three-eighths miles, 
and its superficial area is sis hundred and eighty-eight 
square miles, or more than four hundred and forty thousand 




In the year 1609, and in the month of September, a 
small and lonely-looking vessel came in from the ocean and 
sailed towards the west, along the south shore of Long 
Island. Her people scanned the shore closely, watching 
for inlets and harbors, until at last they came to where, 
behind a bare and barren point, they saw an inviting bay, 
which seemed to extend far away inland towards the north ; 
and into this, after careful sounding, they entered and 
dropped their anchor in a sheltered roadstead, " where the 
water was alive with fish." The barren cape which they 
had passed is now called Sandy Hook, and the harbor in 
which their little ship lay alone at anchor is that crowded 
marine thoroughfare known as the lower bay of New 

The vessel was of Dutch build, high-pooped after the 
ancient style, of a burden of about forty lasts or eighty 
tons, and carrying a rig something similar to that of the 
modern brigantine. Her name, " The Half-Moon," in 
Dutch, was painted on her stern ; and high above it floated 
the Dutch colors, orange,* white, and blue. She was, in 
fact, one of the vessels of the Dutch East India Company, 
which they had put in commission under command of 
Captain Henry Hudson, an Englishman, with Robert Juet, 
also an Englishman, as clerk or supercargo, and with a 
crew of twenty sailors, partly Dutch and partly English, 
and had dispatched her from Amsterdam, for the purpose 
of discovering a northeastern or novthwestei-n passage to 
China and the Indies. 

The previous, incidents of her voyage are not pertinent 
to our narrative. It is sufficient to say that, with the 
master and crew above mentioned, she had now entered an 
estuary, which Captain Hudson verily believed (from its 
size, depth, and general direction) to be the outlet of a 
passage such as he was seeking. 

After a nine days' stay here, during which he thoroughly 
explored the kills and other waters around Staten Island, 
and met and dealt with the strange people whom he found 
living upon the shores, he lifted his anchor, and on the 12th 
of September sailed on, up the great river. On the 14th 
he passed Haverstraw, and anchored that night near West 
Point. On the morning of the 15th he resumed his way, 
and before evening many bluffs and headlands, which are 
now within the county of Columbia, lay abreast of him, 
upon the starboard hand. That night the " Half-Moon" was 
anchored near Catskill, where, saj's Hudson's journal, "we 
found very loving people and very old men, and were well 
used. Our boat went to fish, and caught great stores of 
very good fish." The natives also brought on board " In- 
dian corn, pumpkins, and tobacco." The next morning 
they delayed for a long time, taking in water (probably not 
having discovered the excellence of the river water, or else 
having found a spring which they much preferred), so that 

* At that time the flag of Holland was formed by three horizontjil 
bars,— orange, white, and blue; but in or about the year 1050 the 
orange bar gave place to one of red. 

during all that day they made not more than five or six 
miles, and anchored for the night near the present site of 
the village of Athens. Beyond here they seem to have 
found more difficult navigation and to have made slower 
progress. At a point a short distance above the vessel lay 
for many hours, during which they were visited by natives, 
with whom the commander returned to the shore and 
became their guest. The following account of his visit is 
given by De Laet, as a transcript from Hudson's own 
journal. He says, — 

" I sailed to the shore in one of their canoes with an old 
man who was chief of a tribe consisting of forty men and 
seventeen women. These I saw there in a house, well con- 
structed of oak-bark, and circular in shape, so that it had 
the appearance of being built with an arched roof It 
contained a great quantity of Indian corn and beans of the 
last year's growth ; and there lay near the house, for pur- 
pose of drying, enough to load three ships, besides what 
was growing in the fields. On our coming into the house, 
two mats were spread out to sit upon, and some food was 
immediately served in well-made red wooden bowls. Two 
men were also dispatched at once with bows and arrows in 
quest of game, who soon brought in a pair of pigeons 
which they had shot. They likewise killed a fat dog, and 
skinned it in great haste, with shells which they had got 
out of the water. They supposed that I would remain 
with them for the night ; but I returned after a .short time 
on board the ship. The land is the finest for cultivation 
that I ever in my life set foot upon, and it also abounds in 
trees of every description. These natives are a very good 
people, for when they saw that I would not remain with 
them thoy supposed that I was afraid of their bows; and, 
taking tliuir arrows, they broke them in pieces, and threw 
them into the fire." 

De Laet gives 42° 18' as the latitude of the place where 
this visit was made. This seems to confirm the belief, 
arising from other circumstances, that the lodge, granaries, 
and corn-fields of the old chief were in the present town of 
Stockport, near the mouth of the creek, and that the com- 
mander of the " Half-Moon" was the first white man who 
ever set foot within the territory which is now Columbia 

Above this place they proceeded slowly, as would natu- 
rally be the case in navigating a channel with the intricacies 
of which they were entii^ely unacquainted ; and it was not 
until the evening of the 18th that the " Half-Moon" let 
go her anchor at or near where is now the city of Albany. 
The approach of the great canoe with its strange company 
had been heralded near and far, and a great number of the 
simple natives came to gaze upon a sight which many re- 
with fear, and all with wonder.f When Hudson 

f " When some of them first saw the ship approaching afar off thoy 
did nut know what to think about her, but stood in deep and solemn 
amazement, wondering whether it was a spook or apparition, and 
whether it came from heaven or hell. Others of them supposed that 
it might be a strange fish or sea-monster. They supposed those on 
board to be rather devils than human beings. Thus they diflered 
among each other in opinion. A strange report soon spread through 
their country about the visit, and ert-atcd great talk and < 
among all the Indians. This wc have heard several Indii 
tify."— Van Der Dunck'a D^acriplwn .,/ Xlw Ntthcrland. 


saw such great numbers of tliem collected together he had 
some misgivings as to their intentions, and the safety of 
himself, his crew, and his vessel, and he determined to sub- 
ject some of their principal men to a test, " to see whether 
they had any treachery in them," and it was a most cun- 
ning as well as efficacious one which he applied. " They 
took them down into the cabin and gave them so much wine 
and nqua vltx that they were all merry. In the end one 
of them was drunk, and they could not tell how to take it." 
He argued most correctly that, however much they might 
be disposed to dissimulate, the test of the fire-water would 
tear away the veil and unmask their treacherous designs, if 
any such were entertained by them. But no indication of 
perfidy was discovered. All drank until their tongues were 
loosened, but one old chief went farther, and became help- 
lessly intoxicated. When his Indian friends began to see 
his manner change and his step grow unsteady, until at last 
he lay prostrate upon the deck, they set up sad howlings 
of grief, for they believed him to be dead. But the stran- 
gers assured them by signs that he was not dead, and that 
after a time he would be as well as ever. Then they de- 
parted for the shore, though in great sadness, for they left 
the old man unconscious upon the cabin floor, and probably 
they doubted the truth of the white men's assurances that 
he would in due time recover. In the morning, however, 
they came back and found him alive and apparently none 
the worse for his excesses ; and he assured them that never 
in all his life before had he been so happy as after he drank 
the strange liquid, and while he remained in the trance. 
He asked that he might have more of the strong water, 
and his request was complied with, though this time with 
greater caution. A small quantity was also given to each 
of the other Indians, whose confidence and friendly feelings 
were thus fully restored ; and they departed in excellent 
spirits, and full of the belief that their recent entertainers 
belonged to a superior order of beings. 

It was not long before they again returned, and " brought 
tobacco and beads," which they presented to the captain, 
" and made an oration, and showed him all the country 
round about. Then they sent one of their company on land 
again, who presently returned and brought a great platter full 
of venison, dressed by themselves ;" and after the captain 
had, at their request, partaken of this, " then they made 
him reverence and departed, all save the old man," who 
would probably have preferred never again to quit the In- 
dian paradise which he had discovered.* 

As Hudson found that the river was shoaling rapidly he 
proceeded no farther with his vessel,f but sent his boats 
several miles higher up, to where they found the stream 
broken by rapids, which intelligence he received with great 
sorrow, as putting an end to all his hopes of finding here 
a practicable northwest passage to the eastern seas. Having 

* A century and a half later, Heckeweldcr and other Moravian 
missionaries found, not only among the Delawares and the Mohicans, 
but also among the nations of the Iroquois, a tradition having refer- 
ence to a scene of drunkenness which occurred at the time when tlie 
red men first received the fatal gift of fire-water from the hands of 

t While lying here the carpenter made a new fore-yard for the 
"Half-Moon," this being the first timber ever e.'cportcd from the 
Hudson river. 

now no alternative but to return by the way he came, he 
left his anchorage on the 23d of September for his voyage 
down the river. So difficult did he find the navigation 
among the islands and windings of the channel, that he did 
not reach the vicinity of the present city of Hudson until 
the afternoon of the 2-lth, when the little " Half-Moon" ran 
aground and stuck fast on the " bank of ooze in the middle 
of the river," now known as the " middle ground." How 
much difficulty he had in getting his vessel off we do not 
know ; whether she was freed without trouble by the rising 
of the tide, or whether the difficulty required the aid of 
kedge and capstan ; but it is certain that this mishap, to- 
gether with an adverse wind which sprang up, detained him 
here for two days, which interval he employed in storing his 
vessel with wood, in exploring the neighboring shores, and 
in receiving a ceremonious visit of friendship from the peo- 
ple of the Indian village where he had first landed. There 
were two canoe-loads of these visitors, and Captain Hudson 
found — no doubt to his astonishment — that a chief person- 
age among them was the old savage who had passed the 
night on board the " Half-Moon" after his debauch. It 
may be inferred that, grieving at Hudson's departure, he 
had set out at once by the river trail, hoping to find the 
vessel at anchor at some point below, where he would again 
meet t!ie agreeable strangers, and once more taste the ex- 
hilarating sclinapps. He had found the vessel motionless 
in the river as he had hoped, and had now come off to pay 
her a final visit with his Indian friends in the manner we 
have mentioned. With him had come another old man, 
apparently a chief, who presented the captain with belts of 
wampum, and " shewed him all the country thereabout, as 
though it were at his command." Two old women were 
also of the party, "and two young maidens of the age of 
sixteen or seventeen years with them, who behaved them- 
selves very modestly." And the old men and the old 
women and the maidens were taken to dine in the ship's 
cabin, where doubtless they were served with wine or aqna 

After the repast, they gave their host, by signs, a cordial 
invitation to visit them again at their village, but when 
given to understand that this could not be they departed 
very sorrowfully, though somewhat consoled by numerous 
presents, and the assurance that their white friends would 
again come across the great lake and visit them. The next 
morning, September 27, 1G09, the " Half-Moon" spread her 
sails to a brisk northerly breeze, and soon was lost to sight 
beyond the wooded headlands. At Catskill the "very 
loving people" called out, and made signs of invitation to 
the captain and crew ; but the wind was fair and the tide 
served, and so the little brigantine kept straight on her 
course. On the 4th of October she passed Sandy Hook . 
and stood out to .sea, and her bold commander never again 
saw the beautiful river which he had discovered, and which 
now bears his name. During the stay of the vessel in the 
bay of New York she had lost one of her company by the 
arrows of the savages, and several Indian lives were after- 
wards taken in retaliation ; but at every place above the 
highlands Captain Hudson's relations with the natives were 
entirely pacific, so that at his final departure they exhibited 
a grief which wa.s only partially allayed by presents, and by 


the assurance (imperfectly understood) that the ship's people 
would soon return from across the great waters and revisit 
them. This promise was in a measure performed, for 
although the same vessel did not return, there came in the 
following year another ship, commanded by the former mate 
of the " Half-Moon," and having on board a part of the 
crew who had accompanied Captain Hudson ; and we are 
informed that when these were met by the natives who 
had visited them on the previous voyage " they were much 
rejoiced at seeing each other." 

Among the presents which Hudson had given them were 
some axes and other implements, to assist them in their 
rude agriculture. These the sailors now saw suspended 
as ornaments around the necks of the chiefs, as they had 
no idea of their proper manner of use ; but when they 
were instructed how to handle them they were much 
delighted, and made great merriment over their mistake. 
But few incidents of the voyage of this second vessel are 
found recorded. 

In 1612, two ships, named the " Tiger" and the " For- 
tune," fitted out by merchants in Amsterdam, and com- 
manded by Captains Block and Christiansen, came here for 
purposes of trade, and from that time the traffic with the 
natives along the river (the profitable nature of which had 
come to be fully understood) was regularly carried on by 
vessels sent hither for the purpose from Holland. Hudson 
had named his discovery the " River of the Mountains," 
but the Dutch traders who came after him called it the 
River Mauritius, in honor of Prince Maurice, of Nassau. 

It was the Indian tribe or nation known as the Mohican 
— the same which has been celebrated in Cooper's fascinating 
romances — which, at the first coming of the white man, held 
as its rightful possession not only the present domain of 
Columbia, but also those of the adjoining counties of Rens- 
selaer and Berkshire ; its chief village or council-seat being 
at Schodack, or, in their own tongue, Esquatak, " the fire- 
place of the imtion" with other villages perhaps as popu- 
lous but less important on Beeren or Mohican island and at 
various points on the eastern shore of the river.* In 1690, 
after the burning of Schenectady, the Indians were removed 
from Beeren island to Catskill, and were employed by the 
government as " outlying scouts" towards the north. They 
were probably but few iu number at that time. They had 
also a village at Wyomenock. another at Potkoke, a place 
"about three [Dutch] miles inland from Claverack," and 
others at diff'erent places in the interior ; as well as a rudely- 
fortified stronghold, erected near the present site of Green- 
bush, against the incursions of their enemies the Mohawks. 
The Mohicans claimed (as also in fact did the other In- 
dian tribes) that theirs was among the most ancient of all 
aboriginal nations. One of their traditions ran that, ages 
before, their ancestors had lived in a far-off country to the 
west, beyond the mighty rivers and mountains, at a place 
where the waters constantly moved to and fro, and that, in 
the belief that there existed away towards the rising sun a 

«■ Indian skeletons have been exhumed, in making excavations for 
building, on the lower end of Warren street, in the city of Hudson, 
which leads to the belief that an Indian village was once located in 
that vicinity. Arrow-heads, corn-pestlcs, and other Indian relics, 
are found in every part of the county. 

red man's paradise, — a land of deer, and salmon, and beaver, 
— they had traveled on towards the east and south to find 
it ; but that they were scourged and divided by famine, so 
that it was not until after long and weary journeyings, 
during which many, many moons had passed, that they 
came at length to this broad and beautiful river, which 
forever ebbed and flowed like the waters from whose shores 
they had come ; and that here, amidst a profusion of game 
and fish, they rested, and found that Indian Elysium of 
which they had dreamed before they left their old homes in 
the land of the setting sun. 

At the present day there are enthusiastic searchers through 
the realms of aboriginal lore who, in accepting the narrative 
as authentic, imagine that the red men came hither from 
Asia across the Behring strait, through which they saw the 
tide constantly ebb and flow, as mentioned in the tradition. 

The fact is, that all Indian tribes told of long pilgrimages 
and of great deeds performed by their ancestors far in the 
shadowy past, and claimed to trace back their history and 
descent for centuries. Missionaries and travelers among 
them gravely tell us of Indian chronology extending back 
to the period before the Christian era ; and some enthusi- 
asts have claimed that the American aborigines were de- 
scendants of the lost tribes of Israel. But it is not the 
province of the historian to enter any such field of specu- 
lation. All their traditions were so clouded and involved 
in improbability, and so interwoven with superstition, that, 
as regards their truth or falsity, it need only be said that 
they afford an excellent opportunity for indulgence in the 
luxury of dreamy conjecture. 

The Mohicans named their great river the " Shatemuc." 
but by the Iroquois it was called " Cahohatatea," and by 
the Behiwarcs and other southern tribes, " Mohicanittuck," 
or the river of the Mohicans. With its inexhau.stible store 
offish, with shores and islands of such surpassing fertility 
as to yield abundant returns even to their careless and in- 
dolent husbandry, and bordered by forests swarming with 
game, it was a stream and a country such as Indians love ; 
and there was no nation or tribe, from the ocean to the 
lakes, who had more reason to love their domain than the 
Mohicans. They were a humiliated and partially-conquered 
people when the Dutch first came among them. Their 
fighting men then only numbered a few hundreds, and these 
were broken in spirit by continual defeat ; but they sadly 
boasted that the time had been, within the memory of some 
of their old men, when the call of their sagamores could 
muster more than a thousand warriors for the foray,"]" and 
when their council-house was sought by emissaries from dis- 
tant and weaker tribes desiring their alliance, aid, or inter- 
cession. They even claimed that theirs was once " the 
head of all the Algonquin nations." The Moravian mis- 
sionary, Heckewelder, relates what was told him by a very 
aged Mohican, as follows : " Clean across this extent of 
country (from Albany to the Susquehanna) our grandfather 
had a long house, with a door at each end, which door was 
always open to all the nations united with them. To this 
house the nations from ever so far used to resort and smoke 

f This assertion of the Muhkaua was confirmed by the Velawaree, 
and also by the lioquoit, who boasted of having vauciuished so strong 
a people. 


the pipe of peace with their grandfather. The white 
people, coming from over the great water, landed at each end 
of this long house of our grandfather, and it was not long be- 
fore they began to pull it down at both ends. Our grand- 
father still kept repairing the same, though obliged to make 
it from time to time shorter; until at length the white 
people, who by this time had grown very powerful, assisted 
the common enemy, the Maqnas (Iroquois), in erecting a 
strong house upon the ruins of our grandfather's." 

The Mohicans told that, in the time of their strength, 
when their tribe mustered a thousand warriors, they had 
subdued and thoroughly cowed the afterwards dreaded 
Mohawhs, and that it was only after the latter had suc- 
ceeded in banding together againist them the Five Nations 
of the Iroquois* that they succeeded in turning the tide 
of victory against the Mohicans, and in forcing them 
across the Shatemuc. Their pride and patriotism, how- 
ever, would never allow them to relate or to admit the ex- 
tent of their defeat, and indeed it does not appear that they 
had then been completely subjugated, though Smith, in his 
" History of New York," published in 1756, says that, 
" When the Dutch began the settlement of this country, 
all the Indians on Long Island and the northern shore of 
the sound, on the banks of Connecticut, Hudson's, Dela- 
ware, and Susquehanna rivers, were in subjection to the 
Five Nations, and, within the memory of persons now 
living, acknowledged it by the payment of an annual 
tribute." And Brodhead says, in his " History of New 
York," that " long before European discovery the question 
of savage supremacy had been settled on the waters of the 
Cahohatatea," by the triumph of the Iroquois and the 
humiliation of the Mohican. 

When Hudson came, and for nearly twenty years after- 
wards, the relations which we have described were those 
existing between the two nations. They were nominally at 
peace, but it was a peace brought about by the prostration 
of the Mohicans, in whose breasts there rankled the most 
intense hatred towards their Mohaivk conquerors. It was 
the policy of the Dutch to promote peace between the 
tribes, for a state of war would injure the profitable trade 
which they prosecuted with both, and for which alone they 
cared. But they recognized the superiority of the Mo- 
hawks and the subordination of the Mohicans. At the 
great treaty held in ItJlT, at Nordman's Kill, qr Tawa- 
sentha creek, Brodhead says, " The belt of peace was held 
fast at one end by the Iroquois, and at the other by the 
Dutch, while in the middle it rested on the shoulders of 
the subjugated Mohicans, Mincccs, and Lenni Lenapes." 

The yoke grew more and more galling to the 3Iohicans, 
and slowly they were brought to the point of open revolt, 
and a renewal of the war against the Mohaicks. It may 
have been that their possession of Dutch fire-arms gave 
them confidence ; but if so it was unfounded, for the 
Mohawks were quite as well provided with these weapons 

» The date of the formation of the league between the Five Na- 
tions is not known. The Rev. Mr. Pyrlaeus, a missionary among 
the Mohawks, gives as the result of his investigations that it occurred 
" one age, or the length of a man's life, before the white people came 
into the country." Gallatin says, " The time when the confederacy 
was formed is not known, but it was presumed to be of recent date." 

as themselves. But however this may have been, the 
Mohicans succeeded in uniting the Woppingers, Minsis, 
and other river tribes, and in the year 1625 again com- 
menced hostilities. In the following year they induced 
Krieckbeck, the Dutch superintendent at Fort Orange 
(Albany), to set out with them, with a few of his men, in 
an expedition against the Mohawks. This foray was un- 
successful, and resulted in the killing of Krieckbeck and 
several of his men, and in spreading such a panic among 
the Dutch settlers near the fort that Governor Minuit 
removed all the families down the river, and ordered the 
garrison to observe strict neutrality in future during the 
continuance of the hostilities. 

The war raged with great ferocity for three years, during 
which the advantage was oftener with the Mohawk than 
with the Mohican braves. There is a tradition that the 
final struggle for supremacy took place within the present 
county of Columbia, and not far from where the city of 
Hudson now stands. It is to the effect that, both tribes 
having mustered all their strength for the conflict, the 
Mohicans had retreated to decoy their enemies into their 
own territory, and, retiring before them, had come at last 
to a place nearly opposite to where the village of Catskill 
now is, and that there, upon ground of their own selection, 
they stood for battle, which each party fully understood 
must be a decisive one. 

The fight raged through all the day, and at evening the 
Mohicans were almost victors. Disaster stared in the faces 
of the Mohawk warriors, and they saw that they had no 
longer any hope except through stratagem. In apparent 
precipitation and panic they .slunk away from the bloody 
field, and fled in the darkness to an island in the river. 
The Mohicans soon discovered their flight, and promptly 
yet cautiously pursuing, came at last to a place where, 
around smothered camp-fires, their enemies seemed to have 
stretched themselves to rest, without the precaution of 
posting sentinels. They felt almost as much of pity as of 
contempt for their unwary foes, but they let fly their 
arrows at the blanketed forms, and then leaped in with 
knife and tomahawk. They had made a fatal mistake ! 
The Mohawks, foreseeing the pursuit, had made fagots of 
brushwood, wound those with their blankets, and disposed 
them around the fires in a manner to appear like sleeping 
Indians; then, lying flat upon the ground in the adjacent 
thickets, they awaited the moment when their enemies 
should discover the fires and waste their arrows ujwn the 
delusive blankets. That moment had come, and now the 
Mohawks yelled the war-whoop and closed with their 
antagonists, who, ambuscaded and panic-stricken, were 
soon either killed, captured, or put to flight. The scene 
of this bloody and decisive battle was Vastrick island, now 
known as Rogers' island, between Hudson and Catskill.-j- 

The result of the campaign of 1628 was the complete 
overthrow of the Mohicans of this section, and their flight 
across the Taghkanic hills. " The conquered tribe," says 
Wassenaer (Doc. Hist., iii. 48), " retired toward.? the north 

t Historians mention a great Indian battle which was fought 
during that war, not far from where Rhinebeck now is, and that the 
unburied bones in great numbers still lay upon the field when the 
first Dutch settlers arrived in its vicinity. 


by the Fresh river, so called, where they began to cultivate 
the soil, and thus the war terminated." The " Fresh river" 
mentioned by Wassenaer was the Connecticut, that being 
the name then given to it by the Dutch. His mention of 
it as being " towards the north" is neither strange nor ma- 
terial, as points of compass were very vaguely and care- 
lessly referred to in those days. The fact was that the 
vanquished 3Iohicans took refuge in the Connecticut val- 
ley, where at first they were well received by their kins- 
men, the Pequods. Their lands within the present coun- 
ties of Columbia and Rensselaer were vacated, but not taken 
for occupation by the victorious Muhawks. After a few 
years the exiles came back, first as transient hunting and 
fishing parties, and afterwards for more permanent stay ; 
but never afterwards were they a numerous people, though 
they again inhabited Potkoke and several other villages. 
The " fireplace of the nation," however, was no longer at 
Schodack, but at Westenhok, beyond the Taghkanics. 

For more than thirty years after their subjugation they 
lived in continual terror of the Molmwks, and paid to their 
conquerors such tribute as their weakness and poverty per- 
mitted. But in 1663-64 another combination against their 
tyrants seems to have been eifected, though how composed, 
or how brought about, does not seem whollj" clear. In 
Kregier's " Journal of the Second Esopus War" it is re- 
lated that in the foil of 16G3 the inhabitants of Bethlehem, 
in Albany county, were warned by a friendly Indian to re- 
move to a place of security, as " five Indian nations had 
assembled together, namely the Muhikanders \^Mohicans\, 
Kaiskills, the Wappingers, those of Esopus, besides another 
tribe that dwell half-way between Fort Orange and Hart- 
ford ;" that their " place of meeting was on the east side of 
Fort Orange river, about three [Dutch] miles inland from 
Claverack ;" and that they were " about five hundred 
strong." Also that " Hans, the Norman, arrived at the 
redoubt with his yacht from Fort Orange, reports that full 
seven thousand Indians had assembled at Claverack, on the 
east side, about three [Dutch] miles inland, but he knows 
not with what intent." These last-mentioned figures are 
manifestly absurd, and even the estimate of five hundred 
was undoubtedly much too high. It is not probable that 
the Mohicans then living west of the Taghkanic range 
could muster one-sixth that number of warriors. 

In July, 1664, Brodhead says, " War now broke out 
again. The Mohicans attacked the Mohawks, destroyed 
cattle at Greenbush, burned the house of Abraham Staats, 
at Claverack, and ravaged the whole country on the east 
side of the North river ;" but these ravages could not have 
been committed or incited by this tribe of the Mohicans, 
who do not appear to have been unfriendly to the Dutch 

The English took possession of the province in Septem- 
ber, 166-4, and immediately used .all exertions to prevent 
hostilities between these tribes, and with so much of success 
that but little more Indian blood was shed in the feuds be- 
tween Mohican and Iroquois. 

King Philip's war in Massachusetts, which was closed in 
1676 by the death of the chief, was the means of adding 
to the Indian population of this region. After the decisive 
conflict of the 12th of August in that year, the Pennacooks, 

who farmed a part of Philip's forces, retreated before the 
victors uutil they came to the Hudson river, where a part 
of them crossed to the old Indian village of Potick, near 
Catskill, but the remainder took up their residence " near 
Claverack ;" probably at the Mohican village of Potkoke. 
Notwithstanding these accessions, the total number of river 
Indians in the county of Albany in the year 1689 was only 
two hundred and fifty, and eight years later (1697) was 
but ninety, as returned by the high sheriff and justices of 
the peace, who made an official enumeration by order of the 
Earl of Bellamont. And when it is remembered that this 
number included all, children and adults, on both sides of 
the river, it will easily be seen to what a miserable handful 
the once powerful tribe of New York Mohicans had be- 
come reduced. 

The most potent cause of their decadence was drunken- 
ness, to which, as has been said, they were more addicted 
than any other tribe. Their intercourse wa,s constant with 
the trading-post at Fort Orange, and with the Dutch traders 
upon the river ; and with these they would barter every- 
thing that they had, their maize, peltry, their very souls, if 
they had been merchantable, in exchange for liquor, — most 
properly named by them fire-water, — that baleful poison 
which has proved to their race (even in a more marked de- 
gree to our own) the quintessence of all evil and woe. 

And this it was which depopulated their villages and 
made vagabonds of the few of their tribe who survived its 
blight. But even among them there were instances of 
reformation wrought by saving grace. There was a 3Io- 
hican, named Tschoop, mentioned as a chief,* who lived 
either on the Livingston manor or near the county line in 
Dutchess, and who was one of the very worst and most 
ungodly of his tribe and race, " the greatest drunkard 
among his followers," bloody-minded, false, and treacherous, 
so that there was hardly a form of Indian vice, outrage, and 
sin in which he was not a leading spirit. Yet, through the 
efibrts of Ciiristian Henry Ranch, a Moravian missionary, 
who labored in these parts, this godless Indian, this devotee 
of sin and of the Evil One, not only entirely abandoned 
his drunkenness, but, being baptized by the Moravians, be- 
came a meek lamb, a servant of God, and a pious and 
fervent preacher not only to those of his own tribe but 
also among the Delawares, and so he remained true and 
faithful to the end. 

In the cemetery at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in a space 
allotted to the graves of the Indian converts, may yet be 
seen the mound under which lie the remains of this con- 
verted Mohican, with a rose-bush growing at the head, and 
upon the stone which marks his peaceful resting-place is 
this inscription : 

In Memory of 

Tsruooi., a Mohican hdian, 

Who, in holy baptism, April 17, 1742, 

receired the name of 



Mimon at Shekonteko, and a 

remarkable instance of the poii-er 

of Divine grace, icherebt/ he 

* In ihose days of their decay, every adult male Indian was 
chief, and all claimed to be owners of lands. 

7^ ^h'oM'^,^-^^.^^^, ,-. ,^Q^^^ 

-^ "<, og^^-yy Act , %r»-er^,&^ 4d^ 



became a dintiiitjulshed teavltei- 

among hia nation. 

He departed llii» life hi full 

amminee of faith, at Bethlehem, 

■ AiiguS 27, 1747. 

" There shall bo one fold 

and one shepherd." John x. 16. 

The Indian mission at Stockbridge, Mass., was founded 
by the aid of the Society for Propagating the Gospel in 
Foreign Parts, and commenced in October, 1734; the Rev. 
John Sergeant being the first missionary. Into this, the 
little fragment of the Molucan tribe of the Hudson river 
was drawn, and merged with the Stockbridge Indians ; and 
thenceforth they were known by that name. A handful of 
these fought on the American side in the Revolution, at 
Bunker Hill, White Plains, and in several other engage- 
ments. Their ancient enemies, the Mohawks, fought in the 
opposing armies. 

The Stockbridge Indians were removed from Massachu- 
setts to Madison Co., N. Y., in 1785, and few, if any, 
of the Mohican race lingered behind them upon the shores 
of the Shatemuc. " The pale-faces are masters of the 
earth," said the aged Tamenund at the death of young 
Uncas, " and the time of the red man has not yet come 
again. My day has been too long. In the morning, I saw 
the sons of Unami happy and strong; and yet before the 
night has come, have I lived to see the last warrior of the 
wise race of the Mohicans." 



The absolute property of all the lands in the State of 
New York is vested in the respective owners, liable only to 
escheat, and to the reservation of gold and silver mines in 
such as derive title from colonial patents. 

The Dutch government sometimes granted lands in the 
colony without the formalities of Indian purchase, but it 
was the rule of the English to first extinguish the aborig- 
inal title. It was customary to apply to the governor and 
council for leave to purchase ; if leave was granted, a treaty 
was held and an Indian deed obtained, a writ was issued 
to the surveyor-general to survey, and a map and field-notes 
were reported. The attorney-general was then directed to 
prepare a draft of a patent, which was submitted to the 
governor and council, and if approved was engrossed on 
parchment, recorded, sealed, and issued. 

Governor William Tryon, in his report made in 1774, 

"With respect to the Titles under which the Inhabitnnts hold 
their possessions: Before the Province was granted on the 12th 
March, 1663-64, Iiy King Charles the Second, to his brother, James, 
Duke of York, the Dutch West India Company had seized it, made 
settlements, and Issued many Grants of Land. In August, 1664, the 
country was surrendered by the Dutch to the English, and by the 3d 
Article of the Terms of Capitulation it was stipulated, ' That all Peo- 
ple shall continue free Denizens, and shall enjoy their Lands, Houses, 
and goods, wheresoever they are within this country, and dispose of 
them as they please.' Some lands of the Province are held under 
the old Dutch Grants without any confirmation of their Titles under 
the Crown of England; but the ancient Records are replete with 

confirmatory Grants, which the Dutch Inhabitants are probably the 
more solicitous to obtain, from an Apprehension that the Dutch 
Conquest of the Province in 1673 might render their Titles, under 
the former articles of capitulation, precarious; though the country 
was finally restored to the English by the Treaty signed at Westmin- 
ster the 9th February, 1674. From that period it has remained in 
the possession of the English ; and the Duke of York, on the 29th of 
June, 1674, obtained a new Grant from the King of all the Terri- 
tories included within the former Letters Patent in 166.3-64. 

"During the reign of King Charles the Second, the Duke of York, 
as proprietor of the soil, passed many Grants (by his Governor) in 
Fee, and since his accession to the Throne, Grants have continued to 
issue under the Great Seal of the Province, in consequence of the 
Powers given the several Governors by their Commissioners and In- 
structions from the Crown. Two instances only occur of Grants or 
Letters Patent for Lands under the Great Seal of Great Britain. . . . 

" These are all the different modes by which the Inhabitants have 
derived any legal Titles to their Lands within the limits of this 
Province, whence it appears that all their lawful titles to Lands in 
Fee, e.\eept in case of old Dutch Grants unconfirmed, originated 
from the Crown either mediatelt/, through the Duke of York before 
his Accession to the Throne, or immediutelt/, by Grants under the 
Great Seal of Great Britain or of this Province. 

" Purchases from the Indian natives, as of their aboriginal right, 
have never been held to be a legal Title in this Province, the Maxim 
obtaining here, as in England, that the King is the Fountain of all 
real property, and from this source all Titles are to be derived." 

Such purchases were encouraged, however; and, during 
the administration of Governor Nicolls, it was officially 
announced that " the Governour gives liberty to Planters 
to find out and buy lands from the Indyans, where it 
pleaseth best the Planters." 

The fees incident to procuring a patent were important 
sources of revenue to the officers concerned. Only one 
thousand acres could be granted to one person ; but this 
rule was evaded by the use of the names of merely nom- 
inal parties, the officers through whose hands the papers 
passed frequently profiting largely by this method. The 
colonial government in this respect became exceedingly cor- 
rupt, and the American Revolution wrought a much-needed 
reform therein. 

In a few isolated cases, grants of lands were made directly 
by the crown, and no records appeared in the State offices. 

The following enumeration of rights, more or less varied, 
was embraced in all patents : The grants were " in fee and 
common soccage," and included with the land all " houses, 
messuages, tenements, erections, and buildings, mills, mill- 
dams, fences, inclosures, gardens, orchards, fields, pastures, 
common of pastures, meadows, marshes, swamps, plains, 
woods, underwoods, timber, trees, rivers, rivulets, runs, 
streams, water-lakes, pools, pits, brachen, quan-ies, mines, 
minerals (gold and silver, wholly or in part, excepted), 
creeks, harbors, highways, easements, fishing, hunting, and 
fowling, and all other franchises, profits, commodities, and 
appurtenances whatsoever." 

Colonial grants were usually conditioned to the annual 
payment of a quit-rent at a stated time and place named in 
the patent, the payment being sometimes due in money, 
and often in wheat or other commodity, others in skins of 
animals, or a mere nominal article as simply an acknowl- 
edgment of the superior rights of the grantors. The quit- 
rents formed an important source of revenue, and after the 
Revolution became due to the State. In 1786 it was pro- 
vided that lands subject to these rents might be released 
upon the payment of arrears, and fourteen shillings to 



every sliilling of annual duos. Large amounts of lands, 
upon which arrears of quit-rents had accumulated, were 
sold from time to time, and laws continued to be passed at 
frequent intervals for the regulation of these rents, until 
182-t, when an act was passed for the final sale of all lands 
which had not been released by commutation or remitted 
by law. Such lands as then were unredeemed were allowed 
to be redeemed by the payment of two dollars and a half 
to each shilling sterling due. The last sale took place 
March, 1826. In 1819 the quit-rents, then amounting to 
fifty-three thousand three hundred and eighty dollars, were 
taken from the general fund and given, in equal portions, 
to the literature and school funds. In 1846 the Legislature 
enacted a law to prevent the recurrence of anti-rent diffi- 
culties, prohibiting the leasing of agricultural lands for a 
longer period than twelve years. It also provided that all 
lands previously rented for a life or lives, or for more than 
twenty-one years, should be taxed as the personal property 
of the person receiving the rents to an extent equal to a 
sum that at the legal rate of interest would produce the 
annual rent. Such taxes were made payable in the coun- 
ties where the lands lay, which proved an unpleasant en- 
cumbrance and contributed to the reduction of the amount 
of lands thus held, the proprietors quit-claiming to their 
tenants for an agreed sum. 

Before mentioning in detail the dilFerent Indian pur- 
chases and patents, which covered the lands comprehended 
within the limits of Columbia county, we quote from the 
report of Surveyor-General Cadwallader Golden, made in 
the year 1732, upon the condition of the lands within the 
province, as follows : 

"There being no previous survey to the grants, their boundaries 
are generally expressed with much uncertainty by the Indian names 
of brooks, rivulets, hills, ponds, falls of water, etc., which were and 
still are known to very few Christians, and which (?) adds to this 
uncertainty is, that such names as are in these grants taken to be 
the proper of a brook, hill or fall of water, etc., in the Indian lan- 
guage signifies only a large brook, or broad brook, or small brook, 
or high hill, or only a hill or fall of water in general, so that the In- 
dians show many places by the same name. Brooks and rivers have 
different names with the Indians at different places, and often change 
their names, they taking their names often from the abode of some 
Indian near the place where it is so called. This has given room to 
some to explain and enlarge their grants according to their own in- 
clinations by putting the names mentioned in them to what place or 
part of the country they please. . . . Several of the great tracts 
lying on Hudson's river are bounded by that river on the east or 
west sides, and on the north and south sides by brooks or streams of 
water, which, when the country was not well known, were supposed 
to run nearly perpendicular to the river, as they do for some dis- 
tance from their mouths, tokereaa maiii/ of these brooks were nearlij 
pttruHel to the river and sometimes in a course almost directly opposite 
to the rirer. This has created great confusion with the adjoining 
jiatcnts, and frequently contradictions in the boundaries as they are 
expressed in the same patent." 

No language could have been employed by the surveyor- 
general which would be more clear and direct in its appli- 
cation to the boundaries of tracts in this county. Especi- 
ally appropriate are the words which we have italicised, 
as describing the courses of Kinderhook and Claverack 
creeks in relation to that of the Hudson river. 

The first patent of lands in this county was issued by 
Governor NicoUs on the 25th of March, 1667, to Major 

Abraham Staats, a surgeon of the garrison at Fort Albany, 
for a tract which was described as " called by the Indians 
Cicklekawick, lying north of Claverack,* on the east side 
of the river, along the great kill [Kinderhook creek] to 
the first fall of water, then to the fishing place ; containing 
two hundred acres more or less ; bounded by the river on 
one side and the great kill on the other." This grant was 
confirmed, and four hundred acres more included, in a 
second patent, issued to Staats by Governor Dongan, Nov. 
4, lG85.f Stockport creek (then known as Major Abra- 
ham's creek) was the south boundary of this patent, and 
the whole six hundred acres lay together in one body. 

On the 18th of March, 1667, Jacob Jansen Flodder 
and Captain John Baker purchased from several Mohican 
Indians, for the consideration of " one blanket, one axe, 
three hoes, two bars of lead, three handsfull of powder, 
one knife, and one kettle," a tract of land lying west of 
Kinderhook creek, and which was described in the In- 
dian deed as " All that bush land and kill with the 
fall running north and south, lying and being upon the 
north side of Emikee's]; land at Kinderhook, and on the 
west side of the great kill." Less than a month later 
(April 15, 1667), Flodder and Baker received from Gov- 
ernor Nicolls a patent for their purchase, which was de- 
scribed in that document as "A certain parcel of bush 
land near Fort Albany, together with a creek or kill with 
the fall of water running north and south, lying and being 
upon the north side of Emikee's land, at Kenderhook, and 
on the west side of the great kill, containing by estimation, 

acres of land." The tract thus indefinitely described 

was covered by the patent granted nineteen years afterwards 
to Jan Hendrik De Bruyn, and out of this fact grew long 
and ruinous lawsuits. As to Flodder and Baker, the 
patentees, very little is known. 

Then came the " Van Hoesen patent," which was issued 
by Governor Nicolls, May 14, 1667,§ to Jan Frans Van 
Hoesen, of lands which the latter had purchased from In- 
dians June 15, 1662 (by permission of the Dutch gover- 
nor), and which were described in the patent as " a certain 
parcell of land lying and being at Claverack, near Albany, 
stretching from the small creek or kill by Jan Hendrick 
sen's als Roothaer, to the land belonging to Gerrit Slichten- 
horst, which said parcell of land takes in three of the 
clavers on the south side of the said Roothaer's, and strikes 
into the woods near about the way that goes over the great 
creek or kill, and so going forward it includes all the land 
within the bounds of the markt trees and the creek or 
kill." This included all the site of the present city of 
Hudson, and a part of the territory of the town of Green- 
port, the north line of the patent being about one mile 
north of the north boundary of the city, and the south 
limit was the mouth of Kishna's Kill or creek, where it 
enters the South bay. The east line was Claverack creek. 

* The " Claverack" here referred to was a tract of land which had 
been purchased from the Indians five years before, by Jan Fi-ans 
Van Hoesen, and by him occupied, though at that time it bad not 
been patented. 

t Book 5 of patents, p. 23o. 

J Emikee was a Mohican chief, the reputed owner of large tracts 
of land in the neighborhood of Kinderhook. 

g Book 2 of patents, pp. 219, 220. 


The grants made to Dirck Wessels and Gerrit Teuiiissen 
were of tracts lying on the eastern and southeastern sides 
of Kinderhook lake, in the present town of Chatham. We 
are unable to give their boundaries or the date of grants, 
but it is certain that Wessels and Teunissen were among 
the earliest grantees of lands in this region. 

Next in order of date came the manorial grants to Van 
Rensselaer and Livingston ; and in order to clearly under- 
stand these it is necessary to go back to the first Van Rens- 
selaer grant, which was located in Albany county, above Fort 
Orange (now Albany), and Which antedated by many years 
the first grants made within the present county of Columbia. 

In 1629 the States-General of Holland, to encourage 
settlement in the New Netherlands, offered to any person 
who should settle a colony of fifty or more persons above 
the age of fifteen years, in any of the lands of the New 
Netherlands, a grant of land, with the title of patroon, and 
feudal privileges. Under this regulation Killian Van 
Rensselaer, a pearl -mei-chant of Amsterdam, began a set- 
tlement at Fort Orange, in 1630, receiving a grant of land 
in that vicinity ; and from that time until 1637, while his 
colony was being brought up to the required minimum, 
various grants were made covering an immense tract of 
country, not only in the present county of Rensselaer and 
Albany, but in several adjacent counties. Various grants 
made by the Dutch were confirmed by the English gover- 
nors, among them the Van Rensselaer grants, which were 
erected into a manor called Rensselaerwyck, with baronial 

The first purchase of Van Rensselaer was made Aug. 13, 
1630, of Indians named Kottomack, Nawanomit, Albant- 
zeene, Sagiskwa, and Kanaomack, of a tract of land north 
of Fort Orange; Samuel Blommaert, Johannes Do Lact, 
and Touissant Muyssart being associated with him in the 
grant. Van Rensselaer had two shares and the others one 
share.each, but he alone had the title of patroon. In 1641, 
Van Rensselaer was given power to devise his estate, and 
did so subsequently to Johannes, his eldest son. The 
grant from the Dutch States-General covered a tract of 
territory twenty-four miles long on each side of the 
Hudson river, and forty-eight miles broad. This estate 
remained in the family, descending by the law of primo- 
geniture, until 1775, when General Stephen Van Rens- 
selaer, the last of the patroons, inherited it. He died in 
1840, and much of the property has pas.sed out of the 
family, large inroads having been made in it by litigation. 

In 1667 the English governor, NicoUs, confirmed the 
Van Rensselaer grant, and in 1685 the whole manor came 
into possession of Killian Van Rensselaer, grandson of the 
first pstroon.* On Nov. 4, 1685, a patent was issued by 
Thomas Dongan, governor of the province of New York, 
to Killian Van Rensselaer (eldest son of Johannes, eldest 
son of Killian, the first patroon), for Rensselaerwyck, 
described as follows : " Beginning at the south end of 
Beeren (Bear) island ; thence north on both sides of Hud- 
sou's river to the Kahoos, or great falls of Hudson's river ; 
and east and west on each side of the river twenty-four 

* It is supposed the first patroon never visited his possessions in 
America. Johannes or "Jan the Baptist" came in 1651. 


English miles." Also for a certain tract, now in Columbia 
county, bjunded as follows : " Bjginning at th3 creek by 
Major Abraham Staats', and so along the said Hudson 
river southward to the .south side of Va.xtrix island ; by a 
creek called Wajhan Knslch ; thence with an easterly line 
twenty-fjur English miles into the woods to a place called 
Wiiwanaqidttslck ; from thence northward to the head of 
said creek by Major Abraham Staats'." The date of the 
purchase of this tract from Indians was May, 1649. These 
grants were by this patent erected into a manor, which was 
accorded a " court-leet and court^baron, to be held as often 
a-s the lord of the manor chose." Also, the right to choose 
a deputy to sit in the General As.sembly was granted. The 
quit-rent for this entire grant of about seven hundred thou- 
sand acres, in the present counties of Albany, Rensselaer, 
Greene, Montgomery, Schenectady, Saratoga, and Scho- 
harie, and one hundred and seventy thousand in Columbia, 
was " fifty bushels of good winter wheat." 

Van Rensselaer had much difiBculty in maintaining his 
claim to the lands in Columbia county, and invoked the aid 
of the courts and of the General Assembly; and in 1704 a 
compromise was effected by which that part of the grant 
called Claverack,'}" lying between the Kinderhook patent 
and the Massachusetts line, and between the north and 
south manors, was surrendered by Van Rensselaer, and his 
title to the remainder of Claverack was confirmed. In 
1704, Killian Van Rensselaer conveyed Claverack to his 
brother Hendrick. It was inherited by Johannes, a son of 
Hendriok, born in 1711, and who died in 1783. 

Johannes Van Rensselaer erected Claverack into a manor, 
and called it the "lower manor," in contradistinction to the 
upper manor of Rensselaerwyck. 

" Claverack" included the present site of tlie city of 
Hudson, and covered the tract patented to Jan Frans Van 
Hoesen in 1667. The question of priority of title arose 
between Van Rensselaer and Van Hoesen, and after a long 
litigation was decided in favor of the latter. 

In 1721, Claverack was surveyed for Hendrick Van 
Rensselaer, the lines being run " south from Kinderhook 
to north bounds of Livingston manor; thence easterly 
twenty-four miles to Wcstenhook." 

In 1784, on Feb. 2, Claverack was divided by Robert, 
Henry I., James, John, and Catherine (Mrs. General 
Philip Schuyler), in which division it was described as fol- 
lows : " Beginning at the mouth of Major Abram's or Kin- 
derhook creek ; thence south 84° 30' east ten miles ; thence 
south 40° west as far as the right of John Van Rensselaer 
extended (to the manor of Livingston) ; then to Wahank- 
asick ; then up Hudson's river to beginning." 

On the 13th of February, 1767, John Van Rensselaer, 
of the manor of Rensselaerwyck, conveyed a tract of land 
to the trustees of the Reformed church of Claverack, for 
church purposes. Hendrick Van Rensselaer first leased the 
ground to the trustees. C. C. and J. C. Miller convej'cd by 
deed a tract to the elders and deacons of the same cliurch. 
May 19, 1759, the Millers receiving their title from Colonel 
John Van Rensselaer. 

The Livingston grants of 1684 and 1685 were patented 

f Indian name Pott kook or Pot koko. 



as a manor in 1686, and ccniaincd atout one hundied and 
sixty thousand two hundred and forty acres, including the 
greater portion of the present towns of Cleimont, Geimau- 
toTvn, Livingston, Gallatin, Taghkanic, Ancram, and Co- 
pake. It also had a couvt-leet and courtbaron, held by the 
lord of the manor, and in 1715 was given the privilege of 
electing a member of the General Assembly and two con- 
stables. The annual quit-rent was twenty-eight shillings. 
Robert Livingston,* the first lord of the manor, bought 

® Robert Livingston, the progtnitor of that large and powerful 
family which became so noted in Columbia and other river counties, 
and which for afull century wielded more influence than any other, 
and held more public offices than any three other families in the 
State of New York, was the son of a Scotch clergyman, and born at 
Ancrara, Scotland, Dec. 13, ]()54. Upon the death of his father, in 
1672, he crossed over to Holland, from whence he came to Amerfta 
in 1674 with Rev. Nicolaus Van Rensselaer. He w.ts made town 
clerk of Albany in 167a, and in the same year, by some means, 
secured the appointment of secretary for Indian affairs from Gov. 

In 1683 he bettered his social position by marrying Alida, widow 
of Rev. N. Van Rensfelaer and sister of Peter Schuyler. On the 
12th of July, 16S6, he received the appointment of collector of excise 
and quit-rents from Gov. Bongan, who thought that this, with his 
other offices, "might afford him a competent maintenance." It was 
in this year that he received from the governor the patent of the 
manor of Livingston, a small portion of which he had previously 
purchased for a few trifles from some Indians (the knowledge that 
those valuable lands remained unpatented having been gained by 
him in his official relations). "And thus," says Brodhead, " the 
shrewd Scotch clerk of Albany became one of the largest land- 
holders in New York." In 1688 he became obno.xious to the Leisler 
party, and was forced to leave the province; hut upon Leister's 
downfall he was restored to favor and to his ofBces, which then (be- 
sides those above mentioned) embraced those of clerk of the peace 
and clerk of the court of common pleas at Albany. 

In 1695 he visited England to promote certain claims og.ainst the 
crown ; and while there he, in company with the afterwards notorious 
freebooter, Capt. William Kidd, preferred charges against Gov. 
Fletcher, who in revenge sufpended him from all his offices except 
that of town clerk. The king, however, reinstated him at the 
solicitation of Lord Bellamont; and when the latter became governor 
in the following year he called Livingston to his council. While in 
England (Oct. 10, 1695) "Articles of Agreement between the Right 
Honorable Richard, Earle of Bellamont, of the one part, and Robert 
Livingston, Esquire, and Captain William Kidd, of the other part," 
were entered into for the enterprise of equipping a vessel on shares 
for their mutual advantage ; the said vessel to be used as a privateer, 
and also "to fight with and subdue Pyrates,"— Livingston furnishing 
the scheme, Bellamont the necessary funds, and Kidd the requisite 
nautical skill and fighting qualities. Of the result O'Callaghan 
says, " Kidd shortly after deceived his associates, and brought down 
trouble on all those who had been unfortunately, though innocently, 
connected with him." Instead of subduing pirates, he himself joined 
the bloody fraternity. 

In 1701 the former adherents of Leisler, in pursuance of their old 
grudge, demanded from hira an account of a large sum of money 
which had passed through his hands, and upon his failure to comply 
the Assembly passed an act sequestrating his property. Upon this 
he prepared to return to England to lay his case before the sover- 
eign; but before setting out he had the forethought to obtaiiyfrom 
the Indiana authority to act as their representative at the court, an 
act which the Assembly declared to be "contrary to the duty and 
allegiance he owes to his majesty, and to the peace of this govern- 
ment." On the 20lh of April, 17C2, he was suspended from the 
council. In 1705 he succeeded in obtaining a royal warrant re- 
storing his otEces, notwithstanding which the council refused to vote 
hira any salary, declared his Indian office to be useless, and demanded 
its abolition. He, however, quietly continued to exorcise its func- 
tions, and in the end secured lull payment for his services. He 
succeeded in being elected representative for Albany, and continued 
to represent that city from 1709 to 1714. He had become wealthy 

first of the Mohican Indians " (wo hundred acres of good 
land and eighteen hundred acres of woods," on RoelofF 
Jansen's Kill, July 12, 1683, and this was confirmed by 
the government in 1684. Livingston then represented 
that there was net a sufficiency of arable land in his first 
purchase, and petitioned for peimission to buy another 
tract of about four hundred acres, but was allowed to buy 

from the revenues of his several offices, and the profits realized from 
his various contracts with the government in furnishing supplies to 
the troops, the colonized Palatines, etc., and he now .set about se- 
curing for his manor a representation in the Assembly. This ho 
accomplifhed, and himself took his seat as its representative in 1716. 
He remained a member until 1726, when he finally retired from public 
life, and died about 1728. 

He was a man of rather meagre education, and of no marked 
talent, except for the acquisition of wealth, in which he exhibited 
remarkable ability, tact, and enterprise. Of the methods adopted 
by him in pursuance of this object, the opinions of his contempora- 
ries, the Earl of Clarendon, Gov. Hunter, and others, are shown else- 
where in this volume. The opinions of Gov. Nanfan upon the s.ame 
subject were plainly expressed in his published reasons for suspend- 
ing Robert Levingston from the council in April, 1702, namely : " Sec- 
ondly, That the late Earl of Bellamont, being made sensible that the 
said Robert Levingston was guilty of great frauds in Management 
of the Excise of Albany, etc., did, about January, 1701, declare that 
he would remove him from being of the Council at the meeting of 
the Assembly, but his lordship's much-lamented death prevented it. 
Thirdly, That an Act of Assembly of this province appointed Com- 
missioners of publick Acc'ts to adjust with all persons concerned 
in the receipt and payments of the publick revenue; but the said 
Robt. Levingston, in contempt of the said Act, never gave any 
obedience thereto, altho' duely and timely summon'd to that end and 
purpose, nor would ever render any ace'tts to them of the publick 
money he had received. Eonrlhly, That thereupon tho gen'll Assem- 
bly, being well apprised that said Robt. Levingston had committed 
great frauds in relation to his Mnjes'ts revenue, made an Act of 
gen'll Assembly confiscating his real and personal Estate, unless he 
should give in A full Account in writeing unto the Commissioners 
of Ace'tts of all his receipts and disbursements, and the Grounds 
and Occations of the same, before the 25th day of March Last, which 
he hath refused or neglected to doe. . . . Sixthly, That I was in- 
formed by his Mnj'ts Collector that he, the said Robt. Levifigston, 
had received several summs of money of his majestie's Excise and 
Quit-rents of this Province without any Authority, and of which bo 
had given no Acc'tt to the said Collector."* And for these and 
other reasons he was suspended. 

The tenacity with which he and his descendants clung to public 
office was surprising. In 1721, after having held office in the prov- 
ince continuously for forty-six years, and during nearly all that 
period having held several positions at once, he, wishing to retire to 
the quiet of his manor, petitioned the king to be allowed to turn ovei' 
hi) several njficea in Albany to his son Philip as his successor. And, 
strange to say, his prayer was granted. The civil list of Columbia 
county shows, for a period of a half-century, no name but that of 
Livingston as member of Assembly; the office being held without 
break from 1716 to 1775, inclusive, by members of tho faraih', viz., 
Robert (Sr.), Gilbert, Robert (third lord), Robert R., and Peter R. 
And everywhere through the lists of local, State, and national 
officers, during those and subsequent years, the name of Livingston 
occurs with a frequency which is almost wearisome, notwithstanding 
the exalted chnnicter and position of some of those incumbents. 

Of one characteristic of this family too much can hardly be said 
in praise, namely, their intense and inflexible patriotism. With 
scarcely an exception they stood steadfastly by tho cause of their 
country through all her trials; and it is said that the immediate 
cause of tho death of Robert Livingston, the grandfather of tlio 
chancellor, in 1775, was tho receipt of the news of the battle of 
Bunker Hill, which was first reported as an overwhelming disaster 
to the patriots. (See biographical sketch of the Livingston family 
in chapter on elistinguished men of Columbia county.) 

* Doc. Hist. 


but " two hundred acres of good land and four hundred 
acres of woods" adjoining. This second purchase was 
made of what was called Taghkanic, Aug. 10, 16S5, and 
confirmed the 12th of the same month. The whole tract, 
when surveyed and erected into a manor in 1G8G, was 
found to contain the amount before named, one hundred 
and sixty thousand two hundred and forty acres, by reason 
of the metes and bounds given in the Indian deeds, some 
of which were preserved in the map of the manor, and are 
as follows: Ahashawaghkick, a lull in the northeast cor- 
ner of Massachusetts line; Acawanuk, a flat, or rock, in 
north part of North P]ast (Dutchess county) ; Kaohwa- 
wyick, a place west of a certain mountain ; Kickwa, or 
Kickpa, one of three plains near Roeloff Jansen's Kill ; 
Mananosick, a hill in the west part, or near the Massachu- 
setts line ; Wawanaquasiek, stone-heaps on the north line, 
" where the Indians have laid several heaps of stones to- 
gether by an ancient custom among them ;"* Maliaskakook, 
a " cripple-bush" on the south line of the patent ; Mawich- 
nak, a flat on both sides of a creek, where it joins RoeloflF 
Jansen's creek ; Minmissichtanock, a piece of land north 
of Roelofi' Jansen's creek ; Nowanagquasick, on north line 
of the manor (Sauthier's map) ; Nachawachkano, a creek 
tributary to Twastawekak ; Nichankooke, one of three 
plains, near Roelofi" Jansen's creek ; Pottkook, patented to 
Killiau Van Rensselaer, south of Kinderhook, and called 
by the Dutch Claverack; Quisichkook, a small creek north 
of Roelofi" Jansen's creek ; Saaskahampka, or Swaska- 
liamaka, a place opposite Saugerties, Ulster Co. ; Sac- 
ahka, on north line of town of North East ; Sankhenak, 
Roelofi" Jansen's Kill; Skaankook, a creek ; Towastawekak, 
or Twastawekak, a creek ; Waehaisekaisek, a small stream 
opposite Catskill creek ; Wahankasick, near Roelofi" Jansen's 
creek (Sauthier's map) ; Wawyachtonoch, a place ; Which 
quo puh bau, southwest corner on Massachusetts line. 

The first purchase, called the " Roelofi" Jansen's Kill 
tract," began at Oak hill on the north, and lay along the 
river to the southern limit of Germantown, a distance of 
twelve miles, and extended back with the same width to 
the Taghkanic hills ; and for this tract Livingston paid to 
his Indian grantors the following consideration : " Throe 
hundred guilders in zewant, eight blankets, and two child's 
blankets, five and twenty ells of dufi"els, and four garments 
of strouds, ten large shirts, and ten small ditto, ten pairs 
of large stockings, ten of small ditto, six guns, fifty pounds 
of powder, fifty staves of lead, four caps, ten kettles, ten 
axes, ten adzes, two pounds of paint, twenty little scissors, 
twenty little looking-glasses, one hundred fish-hooks, awls 
and nails, of each one hundred, four rolls of tobacco, one 
hundred pipes, ten bottles, three kegs of rum, one barrel of 
strong beer, twenty knives, four stroud coats, two duff"el 
coats, and four tin kettles." This payment was entirely 
satisfactory to the Indians concerned, in the sale, except 
one, a squaw, named Siak-a-nochiqui, a cripple bush woman, 
of Catskill, who, four years afterwards, pushed her unsatis- 
fied claim, and was bought ofi" with " one cloth garment and 

® This is the only one of the interior boundaries of the manor 
which is now reeognizable. It is on the north line of the town of 
Taghkanic, and a little east of its most northern corner. The stone 
heaps made by the Muhicans centuries ago are still visible. 

one cotton shift." This was the first litigation of the Liv- 
ingston manor, and amicably settled, but for nearly, if not 
quite, two hundred years it was in the law and chancery 
courts, in some form or other, almost continuously. 

In 1710, Robert Livingston, the first lord of the manor, 
conveyed to Anne, "by the grace of God, Queen of Great 
Britain and Ireland," six thousand acres of his estate for 
two hundred and sixty-six pounds sterling, for the occu- 
pancy of the German Palatines. This sale was afterwards 
surveyed (IT-ll) by Cadwallader Colden, surveyor-general 
of the province of New York, and includes nearly the 
entire town of Germantown. It was patented to Johannes 
Haevor, Hagedorn, and others, June 15, 1741, as trustees 
for the colony of Palatines, and a new patent was issued 
Uov. 17, 1775. 

In 1715 the manor was re-surveyed and platted, the lines 
being as follows : 

" Beginning on the east side of Hudson river at a certain place called 
by the Indians Wahankassek, thence east by south 5° 40' southerly 
OJ miles to a certain place called in the Indian language Mawanap- 
([uassck, then east by south 7° 45' southerly 9i miles and 30 rods to 
a hill called by the Indians Ahashewaghkamick, by the north end of 
Taghkanick hills or mountain, thence south 2° W. along said hills 
13i miles to Wich qua pu chat, thence E. 2° 30' N. 3 miles and 156 
rods to a run of water called by the Ini^ians Sackaekqua, thence S. 
by E. S° 30' easterly 100 rods to three linden-trees, thence W. S. W. 
6° 30' southerly U miles to Rock called Nakaowasick, thence W. N. 
W. 13i miles to southernmost boucht of Roeliff Jansen's Kill, thence 
N. W. 11° westerly llj miles to Hudson river, thence up said river 
to beginning." 

Thirteen thousand acres of the Livingston manor were 
set off by the will of the first lord, and formed into the 
lower manor of Clermont, and given to Robert, grandfather 
of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, as a reward for having 
discovered and frustrated a plot of the Indians for the mas- 
sacre of all the white inhabitants of the province. The es- 
tate north of Roeloff Jansen"s Kill was devised entail, and 
was thus transmitted through two generations, the eldest 
son, Philip, and his eldest son, Robert, inheriting the same. 
Philip was born in Albany in 16S6, and succeeded to the 
manor of Livingston in 1728, on the death of his father, 
Robert, the first lord. Philip's son, Robert, Jr., was the 
last lord, the Revolution breaking the entail, and after his 
death the estate lying etxst of the po.^t-road from New York 
to Albany was divided between Walter, Robert C., John, 
and Henry, sons of Robert, Jr., according to the provisions 
of the will of the latter, the share of each being about twenty- 
eight thousand acres. The division was made in 1792. In 
1716 the first lord of the manor took his seat in the Gen- 
eral Assembly, and the manor was so represented until the 

Walter Livingston conveyed his interest in the estate of 
his father, April 14, 1792, to Henry Livingston, for twenty- 
four thousand nine hundred pounds New York currency 
(about sixty-two thousand dollars) ; the dower of Cornelia, 
wife of Walter, being reserved. A portion only of this vast 
estate is now in the Livingston family. 

On the 16th of December, 16S6, a patent was issued by 
Governor Dongan to Jan Hendriek de Bruyn, for a certain 
tract of land which he had purchased eighteen years before 
(Aug. 14, 1668) from three Indian chiefs, named Pompoe- 
neck, Taeppchasunen, and Attowanoe. (See facsimile on 


the following page.) This tract was described as being 
" A certain parcel or tract of land laying on the east side 
of Hudson's river, or the river of New Albany, beginning 
from Davidson's creek, which creek lies against Beare island, 
called in the Indian tongue Pahpapaenpcniock, and from the 
said creek stretching southerly along the river to the saw- 
kill of Frans Peiters Claver, the creek in the Indian tongue 
called Pittannoock stretching to the east, and in the woods 
to the first two lakes or inwaters, which are called by the 
Indians ' Hithoock and Wogashawachook'."* The consid- 
eration named in the patent was a yearly quit-rent of " five 
bushels of merchantable winter wheat, payable on the 20th 
day of March in every year." A reference to the records 
in the comptroller's oflice at Albany will show that the rent 
was faithfully paid. 

Many years afterwards, in the trial of the case of Jackson 
vs. Frier, Chancellor Kent defined the boundaries of the Do 
Bruyn patent as follows : " The line from David's Hook to 
the saw-kill is to be drawn between those points along the 
east shore of the Hudson, and composes the western boun- 
dary ; a line along the west shore of the Fish lake (Kin- 
derhook lake) in its whole extent, the eastern boundary; and 
straight lines from the extremities of the lake to the stations 
on the Hudson, — David's Hook and the saw-kill, — the north 
and south boundaries." 

" The great Kinderhook patent," as it was afterwards 
known, was issued March 14, 1687, by Governor Nicolls to 
Jan Hendrick De Bruyn and others, freeholders of Kinder- 
hook, and in actual possession ; the description of the land 
ratified to them being as follows : " All that tract or parcel 
of land that lieth on the east side of Hudson's river, begin- 
ning at a place called Swate Hook, and runs north upon 
said river four English miles to a certain place called David's 
Hook, and then runs east into the woods, keeping the same 
breadth, to the land of Derick Wessels and Gcrrit Teun- 
nissen and the high hills eight English miles, and then south 
to the fall of Major Abrams" (Chittenden's falls). The 
consideration was the payment of a quit-rent of " twelve 
bushels of good winter marchantable wheat," on the 20th of 
March in every year.f 

The " Powell grant" was a tract located in that part of 
old Kinderhook which is now Stuyvesant. 

A tract of four thousand acres lying on Kinderhook and 
Claverack creeks, and between Rensselaerwyck and the 
great patent of Kinderhook, was surveyed to Conradt 
Burghart and Elias Van Schaaek.| 

In 1703, a tract was .surveyed to Lawrence Van Schaack 
and Lawrence Van Alen, " lying south of Kinderhook, 
north of Potkoke, and east of Claverack.''§ 

Bui-gar Huyck and others received a patent for six thou- 
sand acres, Oct. 2, 1731, from Rip Van Dam, president, and 
Archibald Kennedy and Cadwallader Colden, councillors, 

» Book 6 of Patents, page 319 ; also see Plat Book 9, subdivision 
D, ji.age 197, for field-notes of survey and partition of the Kinder- 
liook patent, ordered by Jaines II., 1704, and by him conveyed to 
Colonel Peter Schuyler, John Do Bruyn, Andries Jaisse, and twenty- 
eight others. Also subdivision E, Field Book 21, for the Kinder- 
hook patent survey, secretary stale's oflice, Albany. 

t Book 6 of Patents, pp. lot, l.'>6, office secretary of state. 

X Land Papers, vcl. vi. p. 21. 

^ Ibid., vol. iii. p. 124. 

for lands on " both sides of Kinderhook creek, and running 
north to the south bounds of Rcnsselaerswyck, and east 
along that line 70 chains."|| 

The Mawighanunk patent was issued Aug. 4, 1743, to 
Stephen Bayard, Cornelius Van Sehaick, John Baptiste 
Van Rensselaer, Johannes Van Deusen, Barent Vaasburgh, 
and Jacobus Van Rensselaer, for a " tract lying northeast of 
Kinderhook, about fifteen miles from Hudson river, and 
lying on Kinderhook creek, being part of a tract called by 
the Indians Mawighanunk, bounded as follows: Beginning 
on the south line of Rcnsselaerswyck, thence south 40 
chains; thence south 50° east, 220 chains; thence east 
120 chains; thence south 40° east, 260 chains; north 30° 
30' east, 166 chains ; north 40° west, 50 chains ; south 82° 
30' west, 140 chains; north 52° 30' west, 80 chains; north 
11-5 chains; west 242 chains ; containing forty-three hun- 
dred and eighty acres." 

The Wawieghnunk patent was issued to William and 
Stephen Bayard in 1743.^ Peter Van Alen received a 
patent from Governor Nicolls, June 26, 1668, for a tract 
'' east of the kill behind [east of] Kinderhook and extend- 
ing south to Nohacktequal.sick." 

In January, 1767, Abraham Lott and others petitioned 
for and had surveyed to them a gore of ten thousand one 
hundred and fifty-two acres, lying between Claverack and 
Livingston manors. This grant was the basis of a suit at 
law which was brought by the patentees against John Van 
Rensselaer, an explanation of which, as well as its result, is 
given in the following extract from the A\w York Gazette 
of Nov. 10, 1768, viz.: 

" On Saturday last the great cause between the Crown and Mr. 
John Van Rensselaer was ended. It was tried by a struck jury, and 
came on before the Hon. Justice Jones, on Tuesday, the 2olh of Oc- 
tober, and continued (with evening adjournments by the consent of 
parties) until the 5th instant. The suit was for intrusion upon the 
crown lands, to try the limits of that part of the old Renssclacrs- 
wyck manor and estate called Claverack. It was promoted by cer- 
tain reduced officers, upon a supposition that there was a great 
unpatented vacancy between the manors of Rensselaerswyck and 
Livingston and the patents of Kinderhook and Wcstenhook, and 
carried on at the expense of the crown. There never was a trial in 
this colony so solemn, important, and lengthy. The counsel spent 
about eleven hours in summing up the evidence. Mr. Attorney- 
General, Mr. Mayor, Mr. Duane, and Mr. Kissam were of the counsel 
for the crown ; and Mr. Smith, Jr., Mr. Scott, and Mr. Thomas Smith 
conducted the defense. The judge was clear in his charge upon the 
construction of the old patent in the Rensselaer family, and the jury 
in two hours agreed on their verdict for the defendant. . . . This 
estate was attached upon the same principles by certain petitioners 
a few years ago; but their petitions were dismissed by the governor 
and council in the administration of General Monckton on the 20th 
October, 1762." 

A tract of seven hundred acres was located by John Van 
Ness on Kinderhook creek, and surveyed to him on the 
surveyor-general's warrant, dated Blarch 4, 1788. 

Under the act of the Legislature of March 12, 1703, 
the rights of the State in a tract of land situated in the 
towns of Hillsdale and Kinderhook, lying south of Canaan 
and north of the north line of lands claimed by the heirs 
of Colonel John Van Rensselaer, and also west of Canaan 
and east of Kinderhook patent, were vested in the persons 

II Book 1 1, Patents, pp. 38, 39. 

f Portfolio E, No. 16, survcyor-gencral'j 


actually in possession, and who were holding the lands in 
their own right, and not for another. An act of the same 
body, passed March 22, 1791, vested the title of the State 
to lands in Canaan in such settlers as were in actual pos- 

The State of New York confirmed the colonial grants, 
but abolished the feudal tenures and privileges. 

But few leasehold* estates are now held in Columbia 
county, and those are the property of the daughters of the 
late Henry W. Livingston, and situated in the towns of 
Copake and Taghkanic. 



In regard to the first settlements by Europeans upon the 
fertile uplands and in the rich valleys and meadows that 
border the streams of Columbia county, we know beyond 
reasonable doubt that the earliest of these were made 
within that region which lies to the north and west of 
Stockport and Kinderhook creeks ; and that the jiioneers 
who first made their rude homes here were principally 
emigrants from Holland, the frugal but honest and brave 
descendants of that race of lowland freemen whom all the 
power and prowess of Rome could never conquer. But, 
when we pass beyond these facts, we are compelled to deal 
with suppositions and probabilities alone. There now lives 
no person who can toll with certainty the name of the first 
white man who built his house here, or who can say in 
what year or on what spot that first dwelling was erected. 

Under the well-known maxim that " property in the soil 
is the first evidence of settlement," we should give priority 
to Major Abraham Staats (or Staets), who took out the first 
land patent in the limits of the present county, and who 
settled at the mouth and on the north side of the stream 
now called Stockport creek, but which at that time and in 
consequence of his settlement there received the name of 
" Major Abram"s creek," by which it continued to be known 
for more than a century. 

The major had come to Fort Orange (Albany) in 1642 
with Dominie Melpogensis. He was by profession a sur- 
geon, and had almost immediately upon his arrival been 
placed in that capacity in charge of the garrison of the fort. 
In 1643 he became a member of the council, and was after- 
wards president of the board, with a salary of one hundred 
florins. Like nearly all the others of the new-comers, he 
soon became anxious to participate in the great profits which 
were then being realized in traffic with the Indians, and so 
applied for and received license to trade in furs ; and in the 
prosecution of this new calling we find it recorded that in 
the year 1657 he sent four thousand two hundred beaver- 
skins to New Amsterdam, and that at the same time he 
had " a considerable bowery." He was also for many years 
the owner and skipper of the sloop " Claverack," which 
plied between Albany and New York. Probably the sloop 

"■■ Life leases were given on the Livingston una perpetual leases on 
the lower Kenssclaer manor. The lower manor has been held in fee 
by its occupants since about 1S51. 

was not run by him in a general carrying trade, but for the 
prosecution of his own traffic. It seems reasonable to sup- 
pose that, after engaging in the various pursuits of fur- 
trading, river-navigation, and agriculture, he must have 
resigned his place as garrison-surgeon ; but if so we find no 
record of the date of such resignation. 

He married Catrina Jochemse, daughter of Jochem 
Wesselse, and by her had four sons, — namely, Abram (born 
in 1665, and in later years known as " Abram Staats of 
Claverack"), Samuel, Jochem, and Jacob, which last named 
became, like his father, surgeon to the garrison (1698 to 
1708). Also, like his father, he tried navigation, and was 
skipper of the sloop " Unity," running between New York 
and Albany ; besides which he was at one time one of the 
justices of the peace in and for the county of Albany. 
Abram Staats " of Claverack" married Elsje, daughter of 
Johannes Wendell, July 3, 1696. It is probable that he 
was born in the old massive stone building, which is a part 
of the dwelling now occupied by Mr. Joseph Wild, near the 
Stockport railroad station. This, however, cannot be the 
house first built by Major Staats as a dwelling, for we are 
told by Biodhead that in the year preceding the birth of 
this child (viz., in July, 1664) the Indians " destroyed 
cattle at Greenbush, burned the house of Abraham Staats 
at Claverack, and ravaged the whole country on the east 
side of the Hudson river." It is possible that the first house 
was of stone, and that the Indian burning destroyed only 
its roof and interior work, which were afterwards rebuilt 
upon and within the same wails ; but it is far more prob- 
able that the first house was wholly destroyed, and that the 
great thickness of the walls of the building which still 
stands (for they are fully three feet thick) was given for the 
double purpose of making them fire-proof and of providing 
a strong place of refuge in case of future savage attack. 

It is certain that IMajor Abraham Staats occupied his 
lands above the mouth of the creek before the date (March 
25, 1667) of his first patent; and unless he had so occu- 
pied it for some years before that time, he cannot be 
thought of as possibly the first settler within the county of 
Columbia, for the Dutch historian. Van der Donck, as early 
as 1656 mentions Esopus (now Kingston), Rhinebeck, and 
Kinderhook as the principal, if not the only, settlements 
along the banks of the Hudson river. The settlement 
mentioned by Van der Donck was at Old Kinderhook 
Landing, and it seems not improbable that its commence- 
ment was earlier than that of JIajor Staats at Claverack. 

The earliest known reference (excepting the above slight 
mention by Van der Donck) to the settlements at Kinder- 
hook and Claverack is embodied in a communication made 
some years since, by the Rev. J. Edson Rockwell, to the 
Columbia Republican, which we quote as follows : 

** To the early records of the settlement of this region there has 
lately been added one of jilcnsant interest, for which we arc iodebted 
to the Long Island Historical Society, and especially to the lion. 
Henry C. Murphy, long our minister in Holland. During his residence 
there, he found in his scholarly researches among ancient documents 
a manuscript copy of a journal of a voyage to New York, in the 
years 1679 and 1780, by Jasper Bankers and Peter Sluyler, two 
Labadist brethren who came thither in search of a home for the 
religious sect to which they belonged. . . . After visiting various 
sections around New York, they resolved to explore the shores of the 
Hudson river, and on the 15th of April went in search of a boat to 


go to Albany, and found one ready to leave immediately. The name 
of the skipper, the journal adds, was ' Mens Hogeboom, to whom we 
agreed to pay for the passage, up and down, one Beaver, — that is, 
twenty-five guilders in zewant, — and find ourselves. We gave in our 
names to have them inserted in the passports.' On the 19th, or four 
days after the boat was ready to sail immediately, the journal pro- 
ceeds : ' We left New York about three o'clock in the afternoon, with 
about twenty passengers of all kinds, young and old, who made great 
bustle and noise, in a boat not so large as a common ferry-boat in 
Holland; and as these people live in the interior of the country and 
somewhat nearer the Indians, they are more wild and untamed, reck- 
less, unrestrained, haughty, and more addicted to misusing the 
blessed name of God, and to cursing and swearing.' As the wind 
slackened they came to anchor, in order to stem the ebb tide. 

" On the 20th they entered the Highlands, and on the 21st reached 
Kinderhook, and on the 22d came to anchor at Fort Orange or Al- 
bany. After a visit to Schenectady and Cohoes, they set out for 
their return on the 30th, and came to anchor at Kinderhook, where 
a certain female trader had some grain to be carried down the river. 
While waiting the process of loading, the journal adds, 'we stepped 
ashore to amuse ourselves. We came to a creek where, near the 
river, lives a man whom they usually call the Child of Lu.\ury 
(f kinder van walde). Ho had a s.iw-mill on the creek or a water- 
fall, which is a singular one. The water falls quite steep in one 
body, but it comes down in steps, with a broad rest sometimes be- 
tween them. These steps were sixty feet or more high, and were 
formed out of a single rock. We saw chrystals lying in layers be- 
tween these rocks. They sparkled brightly, and were clear as water.' 
No one [says Mr. Rockwell] familiar with the scenery around Stuy- 
vesant falls can fail to recognize the description here given of that 
spot as it appeared nearly two hundred years ago. ' We set sail,' 
continues the journal, ' in the evening, and came to Claverack, six- 
teen miles further down the river, where we also took in some grain 
in the evening. Wo were here laden full of grain, which had to be 
brought in four miles from the country. The boors who brought it 
in their wagons asked us to ride out with them to their places, which 
we did. We rode along a high ridge of blue rock on the right hand, 
the top of which was grown over. The stone is suitable for burning 
lime. Large, clear fountains fiow out of these cliffs or hills, the first 
real fountains and the only ones we have met with in this country. 
We arrived at the places, which consist of fine farms; the tillable 
land is like that of Schoon-ecten-deel, low, flat, and on the side of 
the creek very delightful and pleasant to look ujion, and especially at 
the present time, when they are all green with the wheat coming up. 
The woodland also is very good for (making) tillable land, and it was 
one of the locations which pleased me most with its agreeable foun- 

The large, clear fountains here mentioned now furnish 
one of the sources of water-supply for the city of Hudson, 
and are situated a short distance east of the city, on the 
main road to Claverack. It is to be noticed that the name 
Claverack was then applied not only to what was after- 
wards known as Claverack Landing, where now is the city 
of Hudson, but also to the settlement of Major Abraham 
Staats, and in fact to the whole straight part or " reach" of 
the river between these points, " from three bare spots or 
clavers which appear upon the land," says one writer, — 
the bare spots, Avherevor they may have been situated, being 
(presumably) covered with white clover, which in this 
region sprang up spontaneously in every place which had 
been made clear by burning, or by the indolent agriculture 
of the Indians. 

The first settler in the vicinity of Claverack Landing, re- 
ferred to in the above narrative as " Claverack, sixteen miles 
further down," was Jan Frans Van Hoesen, who is supposed 
to have settled there in 1662, the date of his purchase of 
the land from the Indians. Among the settlers who soon 
after took land adjoining his, and farther inland, were Ger- 
rit Slichtenhorst and another Dutch pioneer, who was known 

by the nickname of " Jan, the red head," while the rich 
lands on the Claverack creek were early settled by a number 
of thrifty Dutch farmers, as is shown by the journal of 
the Labadists as above quoted. 

The praises which the brethren bestowed on the low, flat 
lands, which they found " very delightful and pleasant to 
look upon at the time when they are all green with the 
wheat coming up," were fully merited, not only as applied 
to the Claverack creek bottoms, but as well to the lands 
through all this section of country. Some idea of their 
virgin fertility may be had from the account given in the 
journal of David Pietersen De Vries, patroon of Staten 
island, who in April, 1640, sailed up the North river in his 
own sloop, on a voyage of private exploration " to see the 
country there." For more than thirty leagues above Fort 
Amsterdam he found the banks of the river " all stony and 
hilly, and unfit for dwellings ;" but towards the close of the 
day, on the 27th of April, he reached the " Catskill," where 
there was open land, upon which the natives were employed 
in planting corn. On the following day they came to 
" Beeren island," where there were many Indians engaged 
in fishing, and most beautiful meadows were seen every- 
where along the river. At evening the sloop arrived at the 
plantation of Brandt Peelen, at Castle island. Here De 
Vries visited the proprietor at his house, and was astonished 
to learn of the great productiveness of his farm ; particularly 
on being informed by Peelen that he had raised fine, heavy 
crops of wheat upon the same land for ten successive years 
without any interval of summer fallowing. Van Der Donck, 
in his description of New Netherland, confirms this. He 
says, " I had the laud adjoining this same farm, and have 
seen the eleventh crop, which was tolerably good. The 
name of the man who did this was Brandt Peelen, a native 
of the province of Utrecht, and at that time a schepen in 
the colonic of Rensselaerswyck." This was a short distance 
above the north limit of the present county of Columbia, 
but no one will doubt that the lauds here were tjuite as pro- 
ductive as those mentioned in the region immediately ad- 

Both Do Vries and Dominie Megapolensis assure us that 
these pioneer colonists lived in the midst of nature's richest 
profusion, and that " the land was very well provisioned 
with all the necessaries of life." The old writers assure us 
that both flax and hemp grew spontaneously here ; that every- 
where, but particularly upon the islands and along the mar- 
gins of the river and the creeks, the forest-trees were inter- 
laced and festooned with grape-vines, which in autumn 
were loaded with fruit " as good and as sweet as in Hol- 
land ;" that nut-trees of various kinds were numerous and 
very productive ; that wild plums were everywhere ; that 
the hills were covered with blackberries, and the meadows 
and slopes with wild strawberries, which were so plentiful 
that the people would often " lie down and eat them, and 
so that in June the fields and woods are dyed red." 

Captain Hudson, in his journal, said of the country on 
the river that " It is as beautiful a land as one can tread upon, 
and abounds in all kinds of excellent ship-timber ; walnut, 
chestnut, yew, and trees of sweet wood in great abundance ; 
and there is great store of slate for houses, and other good 


The woods were alive with game. There were deer, 
which in the aulunin and in haivcst-time were " as fat as 
any Holland deer (sn le," ar.d the carcass of cne of these 
would frequently be offered by the Indians in exchange 
" for a loaf of bread, or a knife, or even for a tobatco-pipe." 
There were also wild luikeys of surprising size, and so fearless 
of man that they often came down to feed with the swine 
of the colonists. At certain sea.?ons of the year the land 
was almost overshadowed by wild pigeons, of which there 
were such vast numbers that they sometimes broke down 
trees of size by roosting upon them. Pheasants, cjuails, 
hares, squirrels, and raccoons were found everywhere, and 
if the desire of the hunter was for more exciting and dan- 
gerous sport, he might not infrequently find its gratification 
in a shot at bear, wolf, or panther. It is probable, however, 
that the thrifty Hollanders who settled Columbia county 
were not much given to hunting as a mere amusement, but 
only engaged in it to a limited extent as an easy means of 
supplying their Aimilies with food. 

The great river, and the creeks as well, teemed with the 
finest fish, among which were the shad, and many kinds 
scarcely less delicious ; while in the branches, particularly 
towards their heads, the trout existed in great abundance. 
There were plenty of sturgeon, too, which, as we are told, 
" the Christians do not make use of, but the Indians eat 
them greedily." Herrings* there were in myriads, so that 
if all other sources of supply had been withdrawn from the 
Indians they could, we are told, have lived on herrings 
alone, and had abundance. In the journal of Hudson's 
voyage it is stated that in the river he " saw many salmons 
and mullets, and rays very great." A well-informed 
writer, however (Dr. Mitchell, in N. Y. Hist. Soc. Coll.), 
discredits the statement that Hudson saw salmon in any 
considerable numbers in the North river, though he admits 
that they have been taken in it. 

It must be admitted that slow-going but shrewd 
Dutchmen had chosen for settlement a land which had 
been highly favored by the hand of nature. And there is 
no doubt that by the exercise of the indefatigable industry 
of their race they soon brought their farms to a high state 
of cultivation ; though De Vries, writing of that period, 
says that, so universal had become the passion for traffic, 
owing to the great gains realized from it, that " each flumer 
became also a trader." 

The greater part of those who settled here are said to 
have been persons who brought some amount of pecuniary 
means from Holland, and were not unfrequently accompa- 
nied by servants. In this they were somewhat different 
from most of those who had settled in upper Rensselaer- 
wyck, who were sent out at the patroon's expense, and 
received small advances in money or implements, to be 
repaid with exorbitant interest. 

* Herrings hove alvfnys lecn abundant in the river, though for- 
merly more so tlian now. It is related that, more than a ecntury 
later than the time of which we write, a vessel of one hundred tons' 
burden was filled at a single tide near Kogcrs' island, below Hud- 
son. The Indians made great use of these tish as an article of food, 
drying and then jiounding them into powder, to be laid away in bark 
receptacles for winter's use. They also understood the curing of 
both fish and meats by smoking. 

From the meagre li.sts of emigrants arriving by different 
ships about IGGO, and in three or four succeeding years, 
we give the few following names, being of those who are 
believed to have been among the earliest settlers upon lands 
in this county, viz.: In ship "Brown," June, 1658, 
Evert Luyeas, wife and daughter. In the ship " Moos- 
man," April, 1659, Gillis Mandeville. In the "Faith," 
February, 1G59, Jannetje Teunis Van Ysselstein. In the 
"Gilded Otter," April, 1G60, Gerrit Aartsen Van Beuren, 
Gerrit Cornelissen Van Beuren, — both named as " agricul- 
turists." In the " Beaver," May, IGGl, Peter Marcelis Van 
Beest, wife, jour children, and two servants ; Aert Picter- 
sen Buys Van Beest, wife, and son ; Frans Jacobsen Van 
Beest, wife, and two children ; Widow Geerlje Cornells Van 
Beest and six children ; Widow Adrientje Cornells Van 
Beest and daughter ; Goossen Jansen Van Noort Van 
Beest ; Hendrick Dries Van Beest ; Neeltje Jans Van 
Beest ; and Gcertring Teunissen Van Beest. In the 
" Fox," August, 1GG2, Dirck Storm, wife, and six chil- 
dren, from the mayory of Bosch. In the " Purmerland 
Church," October, 1GU2, Ferdinandus de Mulder. In the 
" Spotted Cow," April, 1GG3, Marytje Theunis Van Beest. 
In the " Concord," April, 1664, Claes Melius, wife, two 
children, and servant. 

Among the early settlers in Kindcrhook was Gerrit 
Teunissen, who patented lands adjoining Kinderhook lake, 
as before mentioned. He had been a prominent man in 
Albany before his removal here, and was no less promi- 
nent afterwards in Kinderhook, both in military and civil 

From the " Documentary History of New York" we ex- 
tract the following in reference to Kinderhook : 

"The Said Mr. Renselaer and Capt. Tcunise Report that when 
they came by Kinderhook they founde ye People Very much Inclined 
to mutiny, who were Preparing themselfs to come hither [to Albany], 
by reason of a letter which they had Received of Jacob Milbornc to 
come up to Albany in all Speed to Receive Priviledges and Libertyes. 
So yt they had much adoe to stop them ; however, some did come." 

The date was 1689, and the occasion referred to was the 
return of Killian Van Rensselaer, of Albany, and Captain 
Gerrit Teunise (or more properly Teunissen), of Kinder- 
hook, from Connecticut, whither they had been sent to 
convey to the governor and council of that State the thanks 
of the convention (then sitting at Albany) for the proffer 
of troops by Connecticut,f for the protection of the New 
York frontier against a threatened attack by French and 
Indians. Milborne was then at Albany, where he had been 
sent from New York with fifty men by Leisler, ostensibly 
to protect them and the fort, but really, as it was supposed, 

t This proffer of troops was accepted, and they formed part of an 
expedition which was organized under command of General Win- 
throp, of Massachusetts, for the protection of the northern border 
and the invasion of Canada. The Connecticut contingent set out 
from Hartford, July 14, 1690, accompanied by Mr. Robert Living- 
ston as a guide, and, after marching for a week " through the diffi- 
cult and almost impassable parts of the wilderness;" reached Kinder- 
hook on the 2lst. This was the first organized body of armed white 
men which ever marched through this region. They were met at 
Kinderhook by officers from the Albany garrison, who escorted them 
to that city. At Albany General Winthrop was the guest of Mr. 
Robert Livingston. 



to gain possession of the fort, which was then being held 
by the adherents of the sovereigns, William and Mary. 
The extract is given here because of its reference to a state 
of mutiny among " the people" of the place, as it seems to 
show that even at that early time the population had 
already grown to be very considerable. 

It is a matter of great regret that we are unable to give 
an extended list of the early comers to the northern part 
of the county. The portions nearer to the Massachusetts 
line and bordering on it were settled at a much later day, 
and by a different race : that is, by people of English, 
Irish, and Scotch extraction, who came in chiefly from the 
New England States. 


The settlements in the south — upon the Livingston 
grants — were commenced about half a century later than 
these in the northwest, and by a very diflferent race and 
class of men. On the 2d of January, 1702, the Earl of 
Bellamont, in a communication to the lords commissioners 
of trade, wrote in reference to these tracts as follows: 
" Mr. Livingston has on his great grant of sixteen miles 
long and twenty-four broad but four or five cottages as I 
am told; men that live in va.ssalage under him and work 
for him, and arc too poor to be farmers, having not where- 
withal to buy cattle to stock a farm." This was certainly 
a very poor showing of progress made during his seventeen 
years of occupancy, and it does not appear that much, if 
any, improvement on this condition of things was accom- 
plished in the eight or nine years following that time ; and 
so, when it was proposed by Queen Anne to furnish an 
asylum and home in her American possessions for a large 
body of refugees from the Lower Palatinate, in Germany 
(many of whom had before served in her armies,* and who 
now asked her bounty, liaving been driven from their homes 
by the ravages of the French), the opportunity was em- 
braced by Mr. Livingston to secure the location of the 
greater part of them on lands which he sold to the queen 
for the purpose, — having in view the prospective advantages 
to accrue from such settlement by appreciation of his manor 
lands, and in other ways, as will appear. 

The first of the Palatines (about fifty in number) arrived 
in New York in 1708, and were settled on a tract on the 
west side of the Hudson, in the county of Ulster. The 
second immigration of these unfortunate people occurred in 
June, 1710, when the ship " Lyon" arrived at New York, 
having on board a large number, who were disembarked on 
Nutten (now Governor's) i.sland, and were there cared for 
at the expense of the government. During the month fol- 
lowing several other ships arrived, also bringing many 
hundreds of the Palatines, who were similarly disposed of. 

Upon the question of the location of lands upon which 
to establish them, it was at first proposed that they be sent 
to the Mohawk,, and Governor Hunter ordered a survey to 
be made for the purpose ; it being the intention of the 
government that they should be employed in the manufac- 

* Their services h.aving been purchased by the qiiccu from their 
sovereign, the elector, after the custom of those limes. 

ture of tar and other naval stores, and serve as a barrier 
against the northern Indians. It was, however, the opinion 
of the governor that the Mohawk lands would not be found 
adapted for this purpose, and in a letter addressed by him 
to the board of trade, July 24, 1710, he said, "These 
lands, however, I believe will be in no ways fit for the de- 
sign in hand, being very good lands which here bears no 
Pines and lyes very remote. I shall, however, be able to 
carry it on elsewhere. ... I am in terms with some 
who have lands on the Hudson's River fitt for that pur- 
pose, which I intend to view next week in company 
with Dr. Bridges, who is now with me, and gives me good 

The person with whom ha was in negotiation proved to 
be Robert Livingston. On the 3d of October following 
the governor again wrote the board of trade, saying, " I 
have been obliged to purchase a Tract of Land on Hud- 
son's River from Mr. Lavingston, consisting of 6000 acres, 
as your Lordships will observe from this imperfect draught 
of it, for £400 of this country money, that is, 266£ Eng- 
lish, for the planting of the greatest division of the Palatines. 
It has these advantages besides the goodness of the Soilo, 
that it is adjacent to the Pine, which by the conveyance 
we are Intituled to, and a place where Ships of 50 feet 
water may go without diSiculty." This six-thousand-acre 
tract was conveyed by Mr. Livingston, through Governor 
Hunter, to the queen, Sept. 9, 1710, and was identical with 
the territory of the present town of Germantown, except 
that in more recent years a small triangular tract has been 
annexed to that town from Clermont. The immigrants' 
settlements within this tract were named as follows : Anns- 
berg, for Queen Anne ; Haysbury, for Lady Hay, wife of 
Governor Hunter; Hunterstown, for the governor himself; 
and Queensbury, in still further honor of the crown. These 
four were collectively known as the " East Camp." 

The smaller portion of the Palatines were settled upon 
the west side of the river, where, as the governor then wrote, 
" I have found a small Tract of about a mile in length along 
the River, which has by some chance not been granted, 
tho' pretended to have been purchased of the Indians by 
some, where I have planted the remainder." This .small 
settlement was known as the " West Camp." 

During the month of September they commenced moving 
to the lands assigned them on the east side of the river, 
and on the VM\ of November the governor contracted 
with Robert Livingston to furnish them with bread and 
beer, to be delivered to them at his manor-house, at the 
rate of sixpence per diem for adults and fourpence for chil- 
dren. The number of Palatines for whom subsistence was 
charged during the following winter was two thousand two 
hundred and nine of all ages, of whom nineteen hundred 
and fifty-two were upon the Livingston tract, and two hun- 
dred and fifty-seven in the two camps or villages on the 
west side of the river. 

From the very first the colonists seem to have evinced a 
feeling of dissatisfaction, particularly in regard to the change 
of location from Schoharie, which had first been selected, 
to the Livingston lands, where, as they believed, they were 
to be denied the privilege of a small, separate tract for each 
family, as had been promised, but were instead to be kept 



to aether in three or four large communities, to labor for 
life in a distasteful occupation for the advantage of those 
into whos3 power it was their misfortune to have fallen. 
They felt deeply grateful for the royal benevolence of the 
queen, but they distrusted the good faith of their immediate 
superiors, and chiefly that of the governor and the lord of the 
manor ; and that this distrustful feeling was shared by some 
in high station clearly appears from the tenor of a letter 
addressed to Lord Dartmouth, March 8, 1711, by Lord 
Clarendon,* in which the latter says, — 

"I think it is unhappy that Colo. Hunter, at his first arrival in his 
government, fell into so ill hands, for this Levingston has been known 
many years in that Provinse for a very ill man. Ue formerly 
victualled the forces in Albany, in which he was guilty of most noto- 
rious frauds, by which he greatly improved his Estate. He has a Mill 
and a Brew-houso upon his land, and if he can get the Victualling of 
those Palatines who are so conveniently posted for his purpose, he 
will make a very good addition to his Estate ; and I am persuaded the 
hopes he has of such a Subsistence to be allowed by Her Miijesty 
were the Chief, if not the only, Inducements that prevailed with him 
to propose to Colo. Hunter to settle them upon his land, which is not 
the best place for Pine Trees. The Borders of Hudson's River above 
Albany, and the Mohaoks River, Schenectady, arc well known to be 
the best places for Pines of all sorts, both for numbers and largeness 
of Trees. . . . The bills drawn by Colo. Hunter for one-quarter's 
Subsistence for 1764 adults and 445 Persons under age, in all making 
2209 Persons, and amounting to £4700.17.11, seems to be computed 
according to the numbers that landed at New York in June, 1710, 
which, with submission, I think ought not to be, because it is certain 
many of them are dead.f . . . My Lord, upon the whole matter I am 
of opinion that, if the Subsistence proposed is allowed, the conse- 
quence will be that Lcvingston and some others will get Estates ; the 
Palatines will not be the richer." 

If, by the expression " Levingston and some others," 
Lord Clarendon intended the implication that the governor 
and Livingston were confederated in the matter, it would 
seem to be disproved by a letter, dated Oct. 22, 1711, from 
Governor Hunter to General Nicholson, J on the eve of the 
departure of the latter for England. The governor had 
learned that Livingston had requested Nicholson to make 
a report to the home government damaging to the admin- 
istration of Hunter, and upon this subject the latter said, — 

"I cannot forbear taking notice of this proceeding of Mr. Living- 
ston's as a most base and Villainous practice if there be any truth in 
it, and I hope I have deserved that Justice from you that you will 
as soono as may be acquaint me with what Mr. Livingston has 
thought fitt to represent. I know him to be ye most seltish man alive, 
but I could never have believed that a man who lay under so many 
obligations to me as he does would take it into his head to make any 
Representations to my prejudice without acquainting me at least: 
neither can I be persuaded that after ye manner wee have Liv'd 
togcather, and ye mutuall confidence betweene us, you would eng.age 
yor Selfe in anything of that nature upon the Suggestions of such a 
man. I have suffered here by giveing him too much Countenance, And 
if any Man has any Advantage by ye Palatines here it is he. I beg 
you'l cleare that matter to me, because hee has too considerable a 
trust to be continued to him after soe base and barbarous a practice.'* 

On the 1st of May, 1711, the whole number of Pala- 
tines upon the Livingston tract was 1178, and these were 
in a state of almost open mutiny, having resolved that they 
would neither continue to work at tar-making nor remain 

» Doc. Hist. N. Y., vol. iii. p. 656. 

t A bill dated Sept. 5, 1711, presented by Peter Willemse Romers 
for two hundred and fifty coffins furnished for Palatines who died on 
Nutten island, seems to confirm his lordship's opinion. 

X Doc. Hist. N. Y., vol. iii. p. 675. 


upon the tract, but that they would remove to Schoharie, 
and for this purpose would use force if necessary. At this 
juncture the governor sent to Albany, ordering a lieutenant 
with a detachment of sixty soldiers to meet him at the 
manor for the purpose of overawing the Germans, if they 
could not be conciliated. 

Upon his arrival with the troops, demanding to know the 
cause of their insubordination, he was told that they would 
rather lose their lives than remain where they were ; that 
they had been cheated in the contract which they had 
signed, it being wholly different from that which had been 
read to them in their own language in England, by the 
terms of which each family was to have forty acres of land, 
to be paid for at the end of seven years in hemp, timber, 
tar, pitch, or other productions, instead of which it w;is 
now designed to make them life-long slaves, as Mr. Cast§ 
had plainly and insolently told them, — a condition to which 
they would not submit, but were determined to remove to 
and occupy the lands at Schoharie which the queen had 
designed for them. 

"Whilst his Excellency was talking with the Deputys, he received 
Information that there was a great body of men in arms on the other 
side of the Brook, and having by that time a reinforcement of seventy 
men more, he marched the detachment immediately, and passed the 
Brook; the Palatines were run home to their houses. His E.vcellency 
marched to the first village, and ordered them to bring in all their 
arms, which they did Immediately, except a few. He could go no 
further that night, but the next morning marched to yc other three 
Villages on the same side of the River, and disarmed thorn all, and 
then returning to Mr. Levingston, sent orders to the Villages on the 
other side to bring in their arms that day to the Store house, to be 
transported to him. . . . After his Excellency had disarmed them, 
he sent back the detachment to Albany, and the sober and better part 
of the people, being secured from the rage of the hot-headed, un- 
thinking, and misguided, met together to debate on their former pro- 
ceedings, and with a general Consent came to this Resolution, to 
acknowledge their faults, ask his Excellency's pardon, and signify 
their hearty repentance. Accordingly, all the Villages by their 
Deputys waited on him, and some of them on their knees asked his 
pardon, and promised a thorough Reformation of their behavior, and 
an entire Resignation to his orders for the future: whereupon his 
Excellency pardoned them, with this Certification, that the first diso- 
bedience shall be punished with the utmost rigor the law will allow, 
which they received with great joy, and now they begin to demon- 
strate their sincerity by inquiring when they shall be set to work, 
and show a great desire to make a good beginning on it." {Ltiten 
of Seci-elnry Clarke (o tlie Cnnh of Trade, Mai/ 30, 1711. Doc. Hist. 
N. Y., vol. iii. pp. 665-667.) 

The energetic action of the governor had thoroughly 
cowed the colonists and reduced them to submission. They 
returned to their distasteful work in the pine woods, but it 
was done sullenly and with great dissatisfaction. In a letter 
written by Mr. Cast to the governor in the following July 
he said, " Mr. Sacket is now busy constructing a Bridge 
for the conveyance of the Tar to the river-side. . . . The 
people, perceiving that the construction of this bridge fore- 
shadows the manufiicture of a large number of Barrels of 

J Robert Livingston, John Cast, Richard Sacket, Godfrey Wal- 
sen, Andrew Bagger, and Herman Schureman formed the board of 
commissioners who had general charge and superintendence of the 
Palatine settlement. A court for the trial of Palatine cases was 
authorized by Governor Hunter, but with the express condition that 
of this court " Robert Livingston or Richard Sacket is always to bo 
one." Richard Sacket was the first settler upon the " Great Nino 
Partners" in Dutchess county, before the coming of the Palatines, 


Tar, disapprove likewise of its erection, and say the bridge 
will rot before it is put to that use : Meaning that they do 
not intend to remain on Livingston's lands long enough to 
make use of said bridge. This last opinion does not dis- 
turb me. The advantage already gained over the people 
makes me hope to cflFect a complete victory over them." 
Such expressions as these show that among these official 
subordinates of Queen Anne there existed very little of the 
benevolent pity which had moved her to befriend the help- 
less Palatine exiles. 

During this summer about three hundred of the arms- 
bearing portion of the colonists volunteered* for service in 
the expedition against Canada under General Nicholson. 
Prom this expedition they returned to find their families in 
a .state approaching starvation. 

The result accomplished in the manufiicture of naval 
stores during the season of 1711 was far from satisfactory, 
and on the opening of the following spring the governor en- 
forced the strictest regulations to secure subordination and 
efficient work, — the first and most significant of which was 
that a lieutenant and thirty soldiers should be ordered from 
the garrison at Albany to Livingston manor, " there to be 
posted in such manner and at such places for the better car- 
rying on the work as Mr. Sacket shall think proper, and that 
tents be provided for them." The rations both of bread and 
beer were also reduced, as the governor found it " absolutely 
necessary to make the Expence for the Palatins as little as 
possible;" but, notwithstanding his best efforts in the direc- 
tion of discipline and economy, the coming of the autumn 
made it apparent that the "Tarr Work" was a failure, and 
must be abandoned, though the governor was careful to assure 
the people that no such thought was entertained. At the 
same time he notified them that he had exhausted all the 
money and credit he possessed for their support, and that to 
prevent their perishing, and the total abandonment of the 
work, it was his desire that they accept any employment 
they could secure from the Airmers in this and the province 
of New Jersey. Prior to this they had been threatened 
with severest penalties if they should dare to leave their 
villages, and constables were ordered " to forewarne all of 
their Districts that they do not Harbor any pallatines at 
their perrill." But now, at the commencement of winter, 
they were cast adrift and advised to seek for employment 
(which both they and the governor well knew it was impos- 
sible for them to obtain) among the farmers. 

This heartless abandonment by the authorities, 
duty it was to care for them, " otca.sioned a terrible Con- 
sternation amongst them, and particularly from the women 
and Children the most pityfull and dolerous Crycs and 
lamentations that perhaps have ever been heard from any 
persons under the most wretched and miserable circum- 
stances; so that they were at last, much against their wills, 
put under the hard and greeting necessity of seeking relief 
from the Indians." 

In their extremity some of their people proceeded to 
Schoharie, where the Indians gave them permission to settle 

*■ This is the term used in the ancient documents referring to the 
matter, but the word dm/led would be more appropriate, as tlioy 
went in obedience to a peremptory order for that number of men to 

be furnished from the Palatine fcttlemcnts. 

on their lands, and promised them such assistance and pro- 
tection as they were able to give. Upon which, with great 
labor, they cleared a track through the woods, and at the 
end of two weeks about fifty of their families were on their 
way to " the Schorie," to them the land of promise. This 
step provoked the wrath and fierce threats of the governor, 
but these they could not heed when the alternative was 
starvation, and before the end of March, 1713, the greater 
part of the Palatine colonists had left their settlements on 
the Livingston purchase, and passed across the mountains 
and through the deep snows to rejoin their neighbors on the 
frontier. At the commencement of the enterprise it was 
said and believed that the Livingston tract and the Palatine 
lands on the west side of the river would "enable the send- 
ing of Tar and Pitch enough, not only for supplying the 
Royal, but even the whole Navy of England." It was not 
long, however, before it became apparent that these great 
expectations were not to be realized. In the absence of 
visible results the promoters of the project in England 
wrote Governor Hunter, imploring him at all hazards to 
" send Tarr, to convince the world of the solidity of the 
project;" and in 1712 (Oct. 31) the governor, in writing 
to the Lords of Trade, mentions that the whole superin- 
tendency of the work was then in Mr. Sacket's hands, 
" since Mr. Bridges did so basely desert it." Mr. Bridges 
was a Massachusetts man, supposed to be an expert in titr- 
and rosin-making, and was employed as such to teach the 
art and to superintend the work. Prom the above it seems 
evident that he soon saw that the enterprise must fail, and 
decided to leave it to its fate. 

The entire result of the work was the production of less 
than two hundred barrels of tar, and then the project was 
abandoned in disaster. 

" Such of that people as were sober and industrious," 
wrote Governor Hunter to the secretary of the board of 
trade, July 26, 1720, " remain on the Lands where I set- 
tled them at first, and which I was obliged to purchase for 
them on Hudson's River for the Ends proposed by those 
who sent them, vizt., the Manufacture of Naval Stores. 
These are well enabled to subsist themselves ; the rest have 
been wanderers." The fact is that about fifty families re- 
mained, and were allowed to locate on different portions of 
the tract as fiirmers, in which vocation it is probable that 
they became reasonably prosperous. 

In August, 1724, it appears that there were about sev- 
enty families on the tract, of whom sixty heads subscribed 
their names as being desirous to continue there, while the 
other ten declined to remain as permanent settlers. The 
list referred to was prepared by the surveyor-general in obe- 
dience to an order of council, issued in consideration of the 
petition of Jacob S. Soherb, ChristofFel Hagendorn, and Ja- 
cob Schumacker, made June 13, 1724, in behalf of them- 
selves and the other Palatine inhabitants, praying for the 
issuance of letters patent for the Palatine tract to the peti- 
tioners and other occupants. The matter was referred to a 
committee of the council, who, at a meeting held at Fort 
George, Aug. 27, 1724, reported to the governor that they 
■' Have considered of the same, and are of opinion that your 
Excellency may grant to Jacob Sharpe, Johannes Hciner, 
I Johannus Kolman, and Christophel Hagendorn, their heirs 



and assigns, six thousand acres" (describing it by bounda- 
ries) ; upon which the grant was made, with certain condi- 
tions, all of which will be found more fully mentioned in 
the history of the town of Gerniantown. Thus, such of the 
Palatines as remained became eventually proprietors of the 
lands on which they had settled, and to-day their descend- 
ants are numerous throughout the county. 

From "A List of the Ffreeholders of the City and 
County of Albany," made pursuant to an order of court, 
dated June 11, 1720, and directed to Gerrit Van Schaick, 
high sheriff, we transcribe the names of those then resident 
within the present limits of the county of Columbia, as fol- 
lows : 

" Kendtrhook and part Maimnr of Lirhir/itou, vtz. : Jochim Von 
Valkenburgh, Isaac Fausburgh, Caspar Rouse, Peter Van Alen, La- 
uiert Iluyck, liurger lluyck, Johannis Hujck, Derrick Gardineer, 
Peter Van Slyck, John Gardineer, Evert Wieler, Derrick Goes, Peter 
Fausburgh, Peter Van Buren, Jno. Goes, Mattias Goes, Luykus Van 
Alen, Jacobus Van Alen, Evert Van Aleu, Johannis Vandeusen, Cor- 
nells Sehermerhoru, Johannis Van Alen, Gerrit Dlngmans, Bartle- 
meus Van Valkenburgh, Thomas Van Alstine, Coonrodt Burgaert, 
Stephanis Van Alen, John Burgaert, Abrani Van Alstine, Lawrence 
Van Schauk, Jurie Klaime, Guisbort Scherp, Lawrence Schcrp, Hen- 
drick Clawe, Lamert Valkenburgh, Melgert Vanderpoel, Lenerd Co- 

" In the north part of He Mannnr of Livhujaton : Robert Livings- 
ton, Esq., Peter CoUe, Killian Winnc, Jan Euimerick Plees, Hans 
Sihans, Clacs Bruise, Jonat. Recs, Coonrodt Ham, Coonradt Schure- 
man, Johannis Pulver, Bastian Spikerman, Nicolas Smith, Baltis 
Anspah, Juo. Wui. Simon, H.nns Jurie Prooper, Abram Luyke, Brocr 
Decker, Jurie Decker, Nicolas Witbeck, Johannis Uldrigh, Ffitz Mu- 
jigh, Coonrod Kclder, David Hooper, Gabriell Broose, Solomon 
Sehutt, Jacob Stover, Johanis Roseman, Nicos. Styker. 

"In, Cluverack: Tobias Tcobrocck, Cornelis Mulder, Cornilis Es- 
selstino, Jeremias Mulder, Derrick Hogoboom, Cornelis Huyck, Isaac 
A'andusen, Jno. Hoose, George Sidnem, Richard Moor, John Ilar- 
dyck, Hendr. Van Salsbergen, Jacob Van Hoosem, Kasper Van Hoo- 
sem, Jan A''an Hoosem, Samuel Ten Broeck, Peter Hogoboom, Rob. 
Van Deusen, Casper Conine, -Frank Hardyke, Johannis Van Hoo- 
sem, John Bout, Wm. Halenbeck, Johannis Coolc, John Rees, \Vm. 
Rees, Johannis Scherp, Andrie.*! Rees, Ghondia Lamafire, Hendrick 
Whitbeck, Jurie Fretts, Hendrick Lodowick, Jacob Eswin, Jurie Jan, 
Cloud Lamatere." 

This is beyond doubt a correct list, and a very 
nearly complete one of all the freeholders then living within 
the limits of the county of Columbia. There were at that 
time no freeholders in Germantown, and the eastern part of 
the county north of Livingston manor was at that time a 



The inhabitants living within the bounds of this counly 
never suffered severely from Indian ravages. When Hud- 
son explored the river he found the natives peaceable, and 
■well disposed towards the whites, and they continued to be 
so for many years. We find no account of any Indian 
violence committed against the settlers south of the present 
line of Rensselaer county until the attack of 1664, to 
which we have already alluded, in which we are told that 
they burnt Major Staats' house, and " ravaged the country 
east of Hudson's river;" but we are not told what particular 

outrages (if there were any besides that at Staats') they 
committed in this county, or whether any white blood was 
shed. This inroad, whatever its extent, was, without doubt, 
the work of other tribes than the Mohicans, for they were at 
that time too weak in numbers, and too much cowed by 
years of subjugation, to undertake offensive warfare, unless 
incited and supported by other and more powerful bands. 

But the raid of 166-t, whether it Wiis an extensive and 
bloody one or not, had, undoubtedly, the effect to make the 
settlers more distrustful, more fearful of Indian hostility, 
and to cause them to strengthen their houses, and to erect 
buildings to be used as places of common shelter and de- 
fense in case of a dangerous outbreak. The lion. H. C. 
Van Schaack, of Manlius, N. Y., in his unpublished "Life 
of Colonel Henry Van Schaack," says, — 

"A portion of the old Dutch parsonage still standing in Kinder- 
hook originally formed a part of a fort, with a stockade as an out- 
side b.irrier. On one occasion, when the men were all absent, Indians 
appeared in the vicinity : the women repaired to the fort, and having 
dressed themselves in men's clothes and hats, they, under the lead of 
Mrs. Hoes, a brave Dutch matron, paraded with shouldered muskets 
and made great noises. The Indians, deceived by this appearance 
of strength, did not venture to attack the feminine garrison. In 
some of the old Dutch houses, when first erected, there were port-holes 
in their gable ends, placed there to enable the occupants to defend 
themselves when attacked by the savages." 

The time to which he alludes, however, was probably 
about 1755, or more than ninety years later than that of 
which we have written above ; and there is no reason to 
believe that during all that long period the settlers within 
this county saw any occasion to avail themselves of the 
defenses which they had prepared. 

In Queen Anne's war, in 1704, the Ilousatonic river 
was made, by mutual agreement between the Indian bel- 
ligerents fighting respectively with the French and with 
the English, the eastern boundary of the neutral ground. 
In the " Colonial History" (vi. 371) it is stated that " the 
inhabitants of this province living on the west side of that 
river* followed all their occupations in husbandry as in 
tiiuo of peace, while at the same time the inhabitants of 
New England were in their sight exposed to the merciless 
cruelty of the French and Indians." And this is the ex- 
planation of the fact that, through the constantly-recurring 
wars which succeeded, from that time until 1754, the peo- 
ple inhabiting this section enjoyed entire security from 
Indian outrage. In the year named, on the 2Sth of 
August, about five hundred Indians, who four days before 
had left Crown Point, on Lake Champlain, on an expedi- 
tion of rapine and murder to which they were incited by 
the French, fell upon " Dutch Hoosack," near the Ver- 
mont line, destroyed the settlement, and massacred many 
of the inhabitants. This sharpened their appetite for blood, 
and, although they did not then wholly ignore the lino of 
neutrality, small parties detached from the main body 
scoured the country to the south and west, and, during all 
the period of that war's continuance, the settlers at Kin- 
derhook and in other parts of this county lost their pre- 

» The territory of New York 
east to the Housatnuic (or, as 

that time supposed to extcnil 
then called, tkc Wcstcnbuok) 



vious feeling of safety ; though it does not appear that any 
savage incursions were ruaile here except about the year 
1755, nor that these were very bloody or destructive, es- 
pecially when compared with those which so often occurred 
in Massachusetts and other parts of New England. 

From the New York Mercury of July 14, 1755, we 
extract the following account of an Indian attack which 
had then recently been made near Kinderhook : 

" We hear from Kinderhook that on Wednesday, the 2d inslaot, as 
four men, two boys, and a negro were hoeing corn in a tield near 
that place, they were surprised and fired upon by si.x Indians and a 
Frenchman, which wounded one of the men, a boy, and the negro 
fellow, when they, wilh the three others, took to their heels; the 
seventh, named John Gardineer, ran towards their arras, that were 
nigh at hand, and having dispatched two of the Indians, a third 
closed in upon him, and in the scutBe the Frenchman came up, and 
seeing Gardineer get IhS belter of the Indian, he knocked him down 
with his piece and afterwards scalped him, when the Indians made 
oflf and carried their dead with them. Some short time after, Gard- 
ineer came to himself, and with some difBcully reached the fort, lie 
was so stunned with the blow he received from the Frenchman that 
he was insensible of being scalped until he was informed by the peo- 
ple, who discovered the blood, but remembered the whole of their 
proceedings before, and said he could have killed three of the Indians 
had not the second gun he took up missed fire. 

"On the receipt of the above news the sum of twelve pounds was 
immediately raised by a few gentlemen in this city, and sent to John 
Gardineer for his gallant behavior, to support his wife and family 
during his illness, and 'tis to be hoped that those gentlemen who 
would willingly infuse a martial spirit in the armies now going 
against our enemies will follow an example so truly worthy of their 

The same paper, in its issue of July 21, narrates the 
particulars of a subsequent inroad, probably by the same 
party, and near the same place, as follows : 

" We hear that on Monday last another party of French and 
Indians, consisting of between thirty and forty, appeared at Kinder- 
hook, and carried off a young boy and wounded a negro man, and 
that Robert Livingston, Jr., Esq., with about forty men, were gone in 
pursuit of them." 

And again, from the issue of July 27 : 

"We learn from Claverack that on Wednesday, the 9th instant, in 
the morning, a party of Indians came to the house of Joachem Van- 
derbcrg and carried off a young woman and two of his children. 
The man himself, lying on a bed unobserved by the Indians, went 
quietly up-stairs, and after loading his gun with shot fired at one of 
them who remained somewhat longer than the rest in order to carry 
off his wife, and killed him on the spot, and at the same time wounded 
his wife, but so slightly that her life was not in the least danger. 
. . . We are told that on receipt of the above news at Albany, and 
the cruelties committed by the savages at Kinderhook, one hundred 
brave New England men were immediately despatched from the army 
with orders to scour the woods for six days, and, if possible, to inter- 
cept the Indians on their return to Canada. We have advice from 
Kinderhook that Robert Livingston, Jr., Esq., with his men, were re- 
turned, after being out several days in quest of the Indians." 

There may have been other Indian forays into this region 
during the French and Indian war, but we find no account 
of them, and it will be noticed that those which we have 
mentioned were but inconsiderable affairs, and could not 
in any sense be termed massacres. It is very likely that 
the settlers in this county were protected by their nation- 
ality, for it is certain that the savages in this province (ex- 
cepting at Esopus and below that place, on the river) were 
disponed to be friendly towards the Dutch, as those of New 
England were correspondingly hostile to the English-speak- 
ing settlers in that region. 

It is not known what soldiers were furnished by this part 
of Albany county for the French war, but several officers 
in that conflict had their homes here, among the most 
prominent of whom was Henry Van Schaack, who served 
under Sir William Johnson in the expedition against Crown 
Point, in 1775, being at that time a lieutenant in the com- 
pany which was commanded by Captain (afterwards Major- 
General) Philip Schuyler. In the campaign against Niagara 
he was major, and in both these campaigns he gained great 
credit for soldierly qualities, and was favorably mentioned 
by Sir William, in general orders, for his part in the battle 
of Sept. 8, 1755, at Lake George. His father, Cornelius 
Van Schaack, served as colonel in the same war. 


In the revolutionary struggle for independence an earnest 
and patriotic part was taken by the inhabitants of this por- 
tion of Albany county. 

They heard, as from afar off, the mutterings of discon- 
tent which arose at the passage of the Stamp Act of 1764, 
and the more ominous growling of incipient rebellion, 
occasioned by the Boston massacre and the forced importa- 
tion of tea; a growling which deepened into the unmis- 
takable roar of revolution as it rolled across the country 
from the barren old Lexington common and from the steep 
sides of Bunker Hill. Then the patriotic flame burst forth 
and spretid through all the colonies, and it burned as 
brightly here upon the shore of the Hudson and along the 
slopes of the Taghkanics as it did on the plain of Benning- 
ton or the banks of the Brandywine, though here are no 
historic battle-fields, and the soil has never been pressed 
by the foot of the invader.* 

Committees of safety were formed in this and other parts 
of Albany county in 1774, and these were associated or 
consolidated in one earlj' in 1775. A document show- 
ing this fact is still in existence in Albany, and a copy of 
it is given below. Among the names of its signers will 
be found those of many whose residence was in what is now 
Columbia county. The document is dated February 24, 
1775, and endorsed ".4 general association, agreed to and 
subscribed by the members of the several committees of the 
city and county of Albany :" 

"We, the Freemen, Freeholders, and Inhabitants of the City and 
County of Albany, being greatly alarmed at the avowed design of the 
ministry to raise a revenue in America, and shocked by the bloody 
scene now acting in the Massachusetts Bay, do, in the most solemn 
manner, resolve never to become slaves, and do associate, under all 
the ties of religion, honor, and love to our country, to adopt and 
endeavor to carry into execution whatever measures may be recom- 
mended by the Continental Congress, or resolved upon by our Pro- 
vincial Convention, for the purpose of preserving our Constitution 
and opposing the execution of the several arbitrary and oppressive 
acts of the British Parliament until a reconciliation between Great 
Britain and America, on constitutional principles (which we most 
ardently desire), can be obtained. And that we will in all things 
follow the advice of our General Committee respecting the purposes 

» A British detachment under Gen. Vaughan did land at Clermont 
in 1777, and remained long enough to tire the Livingston mansion at 
that place, after which they retreated precipitately. This is the 
only instance of an armed foe ever setting foot within the county. 
After Burgoync's surrender he and some of his suite passed as pris- 
oners through Kinderhook, and were hospitably entertained there. 


aforesiiid, the preservation of peace 
of individuals and private property. 

nd good order, and the safety 

"John Barclay, Cl,„!n„„ 

'Walter Livingston, 

Henry I. Bogert, 

John Bay, 

Abrm. Cuyler, 

James Magee, 

Robert MuClellan, 


Henry Wendell, 

Jo. Young, 

Cohn's Van Santvoordt, 


Rr. Bleecker, 

Othniel Gardseu, 

Henry Bleecker, 

Baret Dyne, 

John H. Ten Eyck, 

Isaac Van Aernifm, 

Jacob Bleecker, Jr., 

Gisbert Marselis, 

Jno. T. Beeksias, 

Phi. D. Schuyler, 

Har. Wenoell, 

George WniTE, 

Matthew Adgate, 

John McClung, 

Abm. Y'ates, Jfn., 

Guthorn Woodworth, 

John Taylor, 

Bastejaen T. Vescher, 

Rutger Lansixgii, 

Flous Bancker, 

Henry Qvackenboss, 

John Knickerbacker, Jr., 

John M. Beekman, 

Barent Vandeupoel, 

John I). Fonda, 

William Van Beugkx, 

John Van Re.nsselaer, J 

John Abbott, 

John Price, 

jAronis Wn,i,iAMs..N-, 

Anthony Van Schaick, 

Sasil. Van VicnnK.v, 

DiRCK Ten Broeck, ]!k. Ki:ii, 

Reitzert Bronker, 


Frederick Beringer, 

Simeon Cuvell, 

Reyneer Van Aalsteyn, 

Asa Flint, 

Philip Van Veghten, 

James Parrot, 

Joshua Losee, 

Henky L. Leake, 

Anthony Van Bergen, 

Anories Waibeck, 

Albertus Van Loon, 

Mat. Visscher, 

Mynd. Roseboom, 

Saml. Stringer, 

John Van Loon, 

Gerrit Lansing, Jun., 

Ab. Ten Evck, 

John Ten Broeck, 

Henry Van Veghten." 

Robert Yates, 

But it was not all patriotism. Here, as almost every- 
where at that time, there were Tories, adherents of the 
king and haters of the cause of the people ; and it is said 
that in few communities, even along the North river, were 
they more active and bitter than in Albany county, and in 
that part of Albany which is now Columbia. 

From a fragment (there are but two or three leaves re- 
maining) of an ancient book which contained a journal of 
the proceedings of the committee of safety we have copied 
the following, in relation to the establishing and main- 
taining of a night-watch in the county, for the purpose of 
guarding and defending the persons and property of patriots 
against the machinations and evil designs of Tories : 

" Articles /or Begulaliiig the Nlijhl- Watch in the Manor of Liviiiijaton, 

to commence 2'ith Sejttemher, 1778, and to Cimtiuue wheneaer thought 

proper, according to a Resoloe of this Committee. 

"Art. 1. That the Guard for every Night consist of twelve men, 
exclusive of the officer. 

"2. That the Guard shall muster at Eight o'clock p.m., at the 

".3. That the Guard shall take the first Grand Rounds at 9 o'clock 

"4. That the Guard be dismissed at 5 o'clock a.m. 

"6. That the officer of the Guard station two men at the house of 
Dirck Jansen, and two men at the house of Harme Best, which Men 
shall be relieved Every 21 hours. 

" 6. That the Officer shall take the Grand Rounds, with the Eight 
remaining Men, every 2i hours. 

" 7. That when any person is seen, the Guard to Challenge them 
three times distinctly, and if no Answer is returned, or attempts to 
run, the Guard to have full liberty to fire. 

" 8. That when any person is taken by the Guard, to be detained 
there until the Officer of the Guard comes up, when, if he can't pro- 

duce a certificate, or give satisfaction to the Officer, to be detained 
till Morning, and then brought to the Chairman of the Committee. 

"9. That every Ccntinul that is found sleeping on his post, to bo 
put under Guard till morning, and brought to the Chairman of the 

"10. That every Officer or private Man that Refuses or Neglects 
to serve, to be dealt with according to the Resolutions of the pro- 
vincial Congress for Regulating the Night- Watch. 

"11. That every Man is to Mount Guard in person, unless pre- 
vented by sickness. 

" 12. That no Man is Excused from serving by being from home; 
he is to procure a Man for his Night, otherwise to pay the fine." 

•' Heiolvp.d , That the Night- Watch to be kept from Dirck Jansen's to 
Harme Best, shall consist of eighty-four men, which number is to be 
divided in seven subdivisions. 

"Heaolved, That twelve men be the guard for a Night, exclusive of 
the Officer. 

"Jtesolred, That the Night-Watch to bo kept at Samuel Ten 
Broeck's* shall consist of twenty-eight me% which number is to be 
divided in seven subdivisions." 

The above was taken from two consecutive pages of the 
journal ; those preceding and following these being miss- 
ing. It will be noticed that this refers only to the main- 
tenance of a watch in Livingston manor ; but as other parts 
of the (present) county were quite as much infested by 
Tories as was the manor, there is no doubt that if the 
remainder of the journal were accessible, it would show 
that the same precautionary measures were taken in other, 
if not in all, parts of the county ; in which case it would 
appear that the patriotic portion of the people here were 
compelled, in order to guard their lives and property, to 
perform service at home nearly as arduous as that which was 
required of soldiers in the field. 

To wreak their vengeance on the Whigs, whom they so 
bitterly hated (though often their immediate neighbors), 
these Tories hesitated at no crime, however black ; not 
even at murder, which by them was by no means infre- 
quent, and was always accompanied by robbery and pillage. 
Two such instances are given below, — one of incendiarism 
and the other of murder, — committed by Tories, both of 
which crimes were swiftly and fully avenged, as was always 
the case in those days whenever the Tory criminals were 
captured ; trial in such instances generally folluioing ex- 

The instance of incendiarism and attempt at murder was 
related by John H. Dickie, in a letter written by him to 
the Rev. Dr. E. S. Porter, and dated Claverack, Aug. 30, 
1867. The account refers to Captain Casparus Conyn, the 
grandfatiier of the narrator, and is as follows : 

" During the darkest period of our Revolution he (at 
that time holding a commission of captain) received a fur- 
lough, came home to visit his family, and while there, re- 
posing ill his own house, about midnight, a noise was heard 
by his wife. She awoke him, telling him she believed there 
were robbers in the house. They sprang up and found the 
house surrounded. Every window had a sentinel, and they 
found it too late to give an alarm. The robbers, or Tories, 
as they were called, had already entered the house. They 
carried away every available tiling they could, and such as 

"i^' Among those who at one time formed the guard stationed at 
Ten Brocck's are found the names of Nicholas Power, Dirck Jansen; 
Marks Bladtner, Samuel J. Ten Broeck, Pctrus Wynkoop, Jr., Petrus 
Van Gaasbeck, and Leonard Ten Broeck. 


they could not, destroyed. They emptied the cream-pots 
upon the floors and the feathers from the beds, mixing 
them together. They took such articles as jewelry, going 
to one of the family and, taking hold of her hand, asking 
her for her diamond ring, she having, while they were 
there, slipped it from her finger and put it. in her bosom. 
She gave some reason that saved the ring. Among the 
articles taken by them were a pair of gold sleeve-buttons 
belonging to grandfather, and eight hundred dollars in 
money. At last they had grandfather taken into a room, 
and, with a cord from his drum, fastening to a beam above, 
hung him by the neck ; but in jerking the chair from under 
him the rope broke, and that saved his life. They then 
had him, with all the family, taken to the cellar of the house 
and locked them in. While there they heard the tread of 
the sentinels pas.sing the window of the cellar. Grand- 
father about this time, taking an iron bar, broke open the 
door, ran up, and out the door to the road, found a man 
just then passing on horseback, caught hold of the bridle, 
and inquired who he was. He found him to be a neigh- 
bor; invited him to come in and see what had been done. 

" The following morning, as the family gathered around 
the breakfast-table, Kasparis Konyne offered thanks to God 
that they had their barns filled (it being fall, or the fore- 
part of winter) ; but, sad to say, shortly after, their barns 
were burnt, with the contents. The barn built by him in 
its stead is .still standing upon the place now occupied by 
John W. Jenkins. For all this he never received any other 
compensation than the reward of having a clear conscious- 
ness of having served his country during the darkest days 
of the Revolution. 

" Among those guilty of this but two were ever discov- 
ered, convicted, and found guilty. Having a flag of his 
in their possession, they were found guilty and hanged. 
Others not far off were suspected. I, having had this 
handed down, have watched the dealings of God in his 
providence, and think I see a confirmation of the truth 
' that the wicked shall not go unpunished.' " 

The locality of the above occurrences was in the district 
(now town) of Claverack. The other event to which we 
refer, and in which the Tory perpetrators met a similar 
swift punishment, was the murder of Abraham Van Ness, 
an oflScer in the Revolution, in August, 1777. The fol- 
lowing description of the locality in which the tragedy 
occurred is inserted at the request of two prominent gen- 
tlemen of the county : 

" The highway leading from the present village of Maiden 
Bridge to Chatham Centre passes through a series of fertile 
farms, which are washed on their eastern border by the 
Kinderhook creek, the surface sloping gently upward from 
the stream to the crowns of a range of uneven and pictur- 
esque hills. 

" On the east side of this road, and at the distance of a 
little more than a mile from the village of Maiden, stood 
in the year 1777 the homestead of John Van Ness, the 
pioneer of the Chatham family of that name, who with his 
wife, Jane Van Alen, removed from Kinderhook and set- 
tled there about the year 1749, when he acquired title to 
what is now divided into several farms, including also the 
site of the village of Maiden Bridge, and extending from 

the north bounds of the old Van Hoesen farm (now owned 
by Hon. Perkins F. Cady) to the Rensselaer county line. 

" The homestead or dwelling-house, at the date mentioned, 
was of stone, and pierced with loopholes for defense, being 
used as a fort or rallying-place, in case of sudden alarm.* 
Here were born and reared the family of the proprietor, 
numbering one daughter and five sons; several of the latter 
serving as officers in the American army during the Revo- 
lution. A portion of the same stone walls now form the lower 
story of the residence of Samuel Hand, Esq. A small 
stream, flowing eastwardly into the Kinderhook creek, then 
as now crossed the road a few rods south of the house, 
spanned by a road bridge, beyond which and on the west 
side of the road stood an old-fashioned Dutch barn, with 
low projecting eaves." 

The locality thus described was the scene of the murder 
of Abraham Van Ness, the circumstances of which are 
related as follows, by Mr. Jesse Van Ness (now of Wiscon- 
sin), a grandson of John Van Ness, and consequently a 
nephew of the murdered Abraham : 

" At the time Burgoyne was making his way south to form 
a junction with the British commander at New York, the 
Tories through the region of the Hudson river were col- 
lecting in squads to go north to join Burgoyne's army, one 
lot of whom was composed of men from the region south 
of grandfather's [i.e., John Van Ness'], and quite a number 
of them acquaintances of the family; a portion of them, 
from the Kline Kill neighborhood, were the party that did 
the robbing and killing. It appears— as I have been in- 
formed by my father and Uncle ' Bot' (Bartholomew) Van 
Valkenburgh and an old gentleman who belonged to the 
militia at the time, named John Sluyter (a brother of the 
late Dominie Sluyter, of Claverack) — that the family of 
sons of grandfather as well as himself were at work in the 
harvest at the time, and not having seen any Tories for a 
number of days, it was supposed that they had left for the 
north [that is, for Burgoynes army]. Uncle Abraham hold 
a commission of some kind, and had been absent on duty 
for some time, and returned on furlough the day before he 
was killed, and was resting on the day of his death, when 
suddenly the house was attacked, and the family had barely 
time to close and fasten the doors, yet the doors were broken 
open with axes, etc. The Tories having entered the house, 
Uncle Abraham was taken by them, and after they had him 
a prisoner, they consulted as to what disposition they should 
make of him ; some of the Tories were for taking him 
along to Burgoyne's army, while others said that he was 
acquainted with them, and if he should escape he would 
inform against them, and that he had better be disposed of, 
and he was consequently shot. 

'■ Now whether this is wholly correct as to the details I 
am unable to say, but that he was a martyr to the cause of 
liberty is undeniable, and that seven of that same band of 
Tories were executed, near Albany, for that and other acts 
of a like nature is quite certain ; and in that connection, the 
old gentleman, John Sluyter, was one of the guard around 
the gallows, and witnes.sed the execution, as I had it from 

■ Probably one of the strong houses built or put in defensible con- 
ion during the time of the Indian alarms. The Peokham house, 
ir Chatham Centre, was another of the fortresses. 


his own lips, and tlic old veteran would shed tears profusely 
while relating the killing of uncle and of the execution, — 
the latter part would arouse the old man, and he seemed to 
feel all the ardor of his youth returning at the recital. 
Uncle ' Bot' (Bartholomew) Van Valkenburgh has fre- 
quently told me of the circumstances, and how himself 
and his brother, the father of John J. Van Valkenburgh,* 
was called and laid out the body of Uncle Abraham, made 
a coffin, and how he was buried while the party was guarded 
by armed men." 

William I. Van Ness, brother of Jesse, and now a resi- 
dent of Northampton Co., Va., adds to the above, concern- 
ing the murder of his uncle Abraham, as follows: "The 
active company, at the time of my uncle Abraham's death, 
had for captain my uncle David ; lieutenant. Uncle John'; 
and for ensign, Uncle Abraham. The company, with David 
as captain, was at Saratoga at the surrender of Burgoyne. 

" The Tories at that time considered the rebels as outlaws, 
and organized bands to rob and to arrest any active Revo- 
lutionist. Whole neighborhoods of patriots would join to 
work, first this and then that man's field, while a small 
guard would be lefl at their houses. My grandfather's 
family were particularly marked for their disloyalty, and 
one of bands of Tories (I think eleven of them) 
watching their chance, fell upon the house when only my 
grandfather and Uncle Abraham were on guard. Grand- 
father at the time was at the barn. Resistance was useless. 
They took my uncle out-doors, and were about to tie him. 
He broke away, but was fired on by the whole partyf while 
on the bridge, between the house and barn, and fell, pierced 
by several balls. Grandfather from the barn and grand- 
mother from the house saw their son fall. The Tories 
hurriedly plundered the house and left. 

" Now comes in a little scrap I got just fifty years ago. 
While yet an apprentice in Troy, I was sent down to the 
nail-factory to collect a bill from an old man (I regret I 
have lost his name). On giving him my name he asked my 
genealogy. When I told him, he at once brightened up 
to tell one of the descendants of that awful time and scene. 
He was one of the neighbors in the field. He said, ' We 
got the alarm, and in three hours we had thirty men after 
them. Your grandfather knew them (or most of them), 
and that very night we had three of them hanging on trees, 
and the next day we caught more. We did not stop to try 
them. Most of them were hung near Albany.' 

" I have told you before that my grandfather was too old 
to take the field. He had been an active scout in the old 
French war, some of his exploits furnishing Cooper whole 
scenes in his ' Last of the Mohicans.' " 

Immediately prior to the opening of the Revolution 
there existed in what is now the county of Columbia an 
organized " regiment of foot," of which the field-officers 
were Jeremiah Hogeboom, colonel; Johannes Van Hoe- 
sen, lieutenant-colonel ; and Jacobus Delamater, major. 
Solomon Strong was adjutant, and Caspar Huyck quarter- 
master. We do not know what service they performed in 

* John J. Van Valkenburgh is still living in Chatham, at the age 
of ninety. six years. 

f It will be noticed that this account of the killing differs slightly 
but immaterially from that given by Mr. Jesse Van Ness. 

the war (excepting the company of Captain John McKin- 
stry), but it is probable that they saw service of some kind, 
either in the field or at home, in the equally necessary and 
scarcely less arduous duty of controlling the troublesome 
and dangerous Tories. We therefore give the list of offi- 
cers and men- of the different companies, except that of 
Captain Casparus Conyn, the roll of which is not found 
with the others, which arc in the pos.session of Mr. Tobias 
Esselstyn, of Clavcrack. The composition of the compa- 
nies was as follows : 


Captain, Stephen Hogeboom. 

First lieutenant, Cornelius S. MuUcr. 

Second lieutenant, Jogham Muller. 

Third lieutenant, Peter Hogeboom. 

Clerk, Matthew Scott. 

Sergeants, John Juriah Van Iloesen, Peter Esselstyn, Juriah 
Smith, John Nap, Nathaniel Kinney. 

Corporals, Broar Janse Backer, Ament Ostrander, John Van 

Drummer, Jonathan Pitcher. 

PiuvATKS. — Abraham Vosburgh, Derrick Muller, Jacob Philip, Jr., 
Wm. Michel, Samuel Uollinhack, John Harder, Hendrick Row, John 
Morris, Jeremiah (Jobs.) Muller, Johannes Mullor, Robard Halin- 
back, Peter Harder, Joseph Egclston, Jacob Bout, Jr., Thomas Bc- 
graft, Jr., Jacob Hardock, Jacob F. Ilardock, Derrick Van Derker, 
William Rees, John Ilardock, Derrick Van Hoesen, William Garner, 
Johannes Skinkle, Jacob Skinkle, Jeremiah Delamater, John Nut- 
tingham, Maties Hollenback, Carilon Stolp, Jr., Jacob Anderson, 
Peter Bout, Jacob Van Iloesen, Jan J. Van Hoesen, Peter Smith, 
Matthew Crum, James Parker, Andrus Ostrander, Ilendrick Ostran- 
der, Jacob Risedorf, Peter Muller, Jacob Hogeboom, Abraham Har- 
dock, Samuel Pratt, William Cadman, Jerome Groat, Derrick (John) 
Muller, Peter (Jonas) Muller, John Halinback, Johannes Smith, 
Guisbert Turner, Coanrat Shults, Samuel Church, Henry Selsherg, 
John Selsbcrg, Maties Bout, William Bout, John Warn, Garret Van • 
Hoesen, Jonathan Rees, Daniel Adams. 


Captain, James Spencer. 

Lieutenants, Roger Kinne, Jonathan Dean. 

Ensign, Stephen Graves. 

Clerk, Truman Powell. 

Sergeants, Amos Lawrence, Jonah Graves, Judah Lawrence, Jacob 

Corporals, Daniel Bowers, Jonathan Sheppard, Elcazer Spencer, 
David Pratt. 

Drummer, Samuel Foot. 

Privates. — Simeon Rowley, Israel Woolsey, Boslion Rosman, John 
Rosmau, Benjamin Allen, Silas Palmer, Eli Reynolds, Eli Reynolds, 
Jr., David Preston, John Preston, Elihu Lawrence, Ebenezer Soles, 
Benjamin Richmond, Stephen Richmond, Abel Kidder, Ephraim Kid- 
der, Abraham Chase, Abraham Frcese, Harmonous Flock, Moses Spen- 
cer, David Spencer, Phineas Spencer, Samuel Spencer, Stephen Kline, 
Abner Johnson, Eliphas Spencer, Daniel Lee, Roswell Lee, Aniaziah 
Phillips, Richard Phillips, Benjamin Hawley, Israel Holdridge, 
Daniel Stuart, Matthias Spencer, Eliakim Nichols, James Wallcn, 
•John Sledman, Charles Davenport, Ezekiel Palmer, Stephen Palmer, 
Gains Dean, Jonathan Chamberlin, Reuben Wetmore, Elisha Cham- 
berlin, John Taylor, Benjamin Chittenden, Caleb Brainard, Hezekiah 
Doolittle, Jeriah Williams, Elisha Chaddock, Joel Lee. Samuel Dart, 
Samuel Curtis, Return Ilolcom, Stephen Holcom, Ebenezer Holcom, 
Ashbell Goff, Michel Wilson, David Auger, Zebulon Alger, Samuel 
Williams, Matthew Hatch, Ebenezer Andrews, Allen Graves, Increase 
Graves, Joseph JIool, Joseph Tillotson, Asa Spencer, Ebenezer Tyler, 
John Ward, James Hymes, J.imcs Andrus, Stephen Chapman, James 
Ackley, Christopher Brazee, Jr., Gabriel Brazee, Wilson Brazee, Law- 
rence Brazee, Aaron T.^ylor, Thomas Jostlin, Beriah Thomas, Timo- 
thy Spalding, Ichabod Squire, Ichabod Squire, Jr., Bartholomew 
Barret, Daniel Mcssinger, Andrew Messinger, Roderick Mcssinger, 
Asel Drake, Asel Drake, Jr., Charles Blum, Nicholas Root, David 


Hutchinson, Samuel Hutchinson, Ludlow Owen, Abraham Bliss, 
Dominy McCoUany, Miles Griswold, Elijah Stasson, Richard Soper, 
Benjamin Bankson, Amos Carver, Lonson Saxton, Ebcnezer Sax- 
ton, William Saxton, Andrew Quick, Jeremiah Reynolds, Thomas 
Brown. Jonathan Welch, Barnabas Brunson, AVilliam Shapley, 
Cornelius Fuller, Ichabod Squire, Seth Scudder, Joseph Rodman, 
John Scudder, Moses Root, Edward Cadmond, Asa Chaddock, John 
Rolin, Thomas Clark, Ephraim Wright, Benjamin Kellogg, Silas 
Doty, Jediah Graves, Daniel Taylor, Ephraim Leach, Abraham Bliss, 
Levi Phelps, Amaziah Carver, Joseph Andrus, Oliver Goff, Zephaniah 
Holcomb, Abel Wright, Abijah Ford, Barnabas Kinne, Amos Story, 
Benjamin Valentine, William Chamberlin, John Wright, John 
Wright, Jr., Nathaniel Cross, Jabez Spencer, Joel Pratt, John Gris- 
wold, Benjamin Ford, Simeon Dudley, Peter Dinne, Aaron Day, 
David Day, Caleb Ede, Jonah Phelps, Peter Hizer, Abraham Peutt, 
Coonrad Rossman. 


Captain, Johannes Plass. 

First lieutenant, Derick Delamater. 

Second lieutenant, William Holiuback. 

Ensign, Jacob Carter. 

Clerk, Peter A. Fonda. 

Sergeants, Thos. Everts, Abraham Van Hoesen, Jacob Hallenback. 

Corporals, Tobias Bout, Johannis (Jac.) Van Hoesen, Joshua 

PitivATES.— Lukes Wilback, Thomas Wilback, Hendrick Rees, Jr., 
Adam Hydorn, Conrot Hydorn, Johannes Van Duesen, Gloudey Van 
Duesen, Gloudey Delamater, Jr., Donwe Fonda, Nicholas Nichols, 
Jonathan Begraft, Johannes G. Van Hoesen, Thomas Carter, Thomas 
Rees, Simon Hoes, Michel Harder, Jr., George Harder, George 
Dacker, Jr., Henry Dacker, Johanyost Celder, Hendrick Colder, Jr., 
Frederick Blesing, Samuel Ekens, Moses Ekens, Patrick Cranhyt, 
Hendrick H.alinback, William Halinback, Cornelous (Jac.) Van 
Hoesen, Jacob Van Hoesen (the 3d), Garret Van Hoesen, Jr., Peter 
Van Hoesen, Jr., Levy Padock, Matthew Everts, Jonas Rees, Adam 
Kook, John Hardick, Jr., Myndert Bent, Jogham Plass, Andrics 
Halinback, Jacob Harder, Jr., Jonathan W. Rees, Nicholaus Marris, 
William Calder, John McDonald, William Begraft, Jonathan Rees, 
Hendrick Wilback, Jr., Joshua Broeks, Jr., S.amuel (Jon.) Ten Broeck, 
William Scherraerhorn, Ycron Halinbeck, Jacob Bows, Andrew Ha- 
linback, Benjamin Frear, Abraham Frear, Peter Frear, Aaron Beach, 
Ayer Curtis, John Speer, Oliver Cool, Ohradirick Cool, Award Patter- 
son, John Vaughn, Richard Vaughn, John Steward, Robard Farns- 
worth, Joshua Kellogg, Eldert Kellogg, Oliver Taylor, John Cleve- 
land, Isaac Ward, Elisha Ward, Ephraim Brunson, Thomas Hatch, 
Lemuel Hill, William Tuknes. 


Captain, Richard Esselstyn.* 

First lieutenant, David Bonesteel. 

Second lieutenant, William Philip. 

Clerk, Claude Delamater. 

Sergeants, Simon Shutts, Henry Stover, Simon New, John P. 

Corporals, William Alsworth, Dirck Smith, Benjamin Beach, Con- 
rat Ree. 

Drummer, Martin Ree. 

PniVATES.--Andrcw Miller, William Mullor, Jacob Muller, Samuel 
Miller, John Miller, Adam Wagoner, John Esselstyn, Jacob Hough- 
taling, Abraham Esselstyn, Thomas AVhiting, John Coons, George 
Finkle, Jr., William Clapper, Martin Houghtaling, Frederick Helle- 
kas, John Hellekas, Martin Van Deusen, Ahram Van Deuscn, Harmon 
Jacobs, William Rodman, Frederick Bonesteel, Hendrick Kelder, 
Thomas Kelder, Henry Proper, Carlogh Stolp, Jr., Peter Stuffle- 
becn, Henry Stufflebeen, William Philip, Jr., Peter Stolp, Andrew 
Bamhover, Barent Lyck, Abram Houghtaling, Jacob Semon, Jeremiah 
Smith, Martin Crom, Frederick Fell, Conrat Schout, George Philip, 
Jacob Shufelt, H. William Shufelt, Peter Shufcit, John Thurtin, 
Jacob Deney, Nicholas Dcney, George Hener, Christian Ree, Henry 
Hener, Peter Hener, Peter Bortle, Jacob Best, Henry Bonesteel, Wil- 

* Promoted afterwards to major. See fac-simile of his major's 
eommisgion, on opposite page. 

liam Dierik, John Loot, Elisha Demmens, Wm. Semon, Henry Semon, 
Jeremiah C. Mailer, Jerry Embrigh, John Demmens, Peter Stever. 


Captain, Thomas Storm. 

First lieutenant, Peter Loop. 

Second lieutenant, Isaac J. Vosburgh. 

Ensign, Isaac Spoor. 

Sergeants, Gershom Dai'Iing, Robert Rorabagb, Bartholomew 
Heath, Samuel Coon. 

Corporals, Nathaniel Frisly, Andrew Cool, Thomas Robbins, An- 
drew Schermerhorn. 

Clerk, Evert Hecrmanee. 

Drummer, Daniel Kelley. 

Privates.— Gilbert Turner, Barent Van Deusen, Jacob Hecrmanee, 
Jr., Ebenezer Culver, Peter Vosburgh, Peter R. Ludlow, John Hager- 
man, Charles Boioe, Isaac Chase, George Kilmer, Hunry Kilmer, 
Jonathan Rudd, Henry Chrisler, John Loop, William Luycks, Nich- 
olas Luycks, John Rorabigh, Peter Sisson, William Moor, Henry 
Borabagh, Anthony Bever, Dirck Miller, Jr., William Miller, Jr., 
Isaac Grimes, Philip Burch, John Smith, John White, William 
White, Jr., John White, Jr., Peter White, Israel Walker, Andrew 
Brasie, Samuel Warner, John Warner, Richard Warner, Gideon 
Walker, Nicholas Shorts, Aaron Pixley, Jacob Darling, Abram Rees, 
Philip Kees, Ephraim Wilbeek, Cornelius Witbeck, Henry Witbeck, 
John Ronie, Elisha Pixley, George Alsburg, Gilbert Decker, Jan 
Hallenbeok, Michael Hallenbeck, William Hallcnbeck, Samuel Ilal- 
leubeck, Nicholas Hallenbeck, Clark Pixley, Thomas Rorabagh, 
Joseph Boiee, Michael Ray, Henry Cline, George Sisson, John Mo- 
Farling, Jonah Pixley, Cornelius H. Brent, Cornelius McCarter, 
Joseph Morehouse. 


Captain, William Van Alstyn. 

First lieutenant, John Uphaui. 

Second lieutenant, Jeremiah Miller. 

Ensign, A. B. Bacon. 

Clerk, Tobias Legget. 

Sergeants, Peter Van Valkenburg, Frederick Moul, Roeloff Van De 
Karr, Lawrence Hogeboom. 

Corporals, Jacob Philip, Peter Dingman, Jurrien Yator, Wm. Wood. 

Drummer, Michael Lusk. 

Privates.— William Martin, Hendrick Van De Karr, Arent Van 
De Karr, Ezekiel Benewie, Peter Helm, Hendrick Shever, Johannes 
Van De Karr, Derick Van De Karr, Johannes Van De Karr, Jr., 
Feyt Miesiek, Johannes Miesick, Thomas Miesick, Hendrick Miesick, 
Johannes Miesick, Jr., Jacob Vosburgh, Martin Vosburgh, Peter Vos- 
burgh, Jacobus Legget, Jonathan Smith, J. A. Smith, Johannes 
Dingman, Hendrick Skinkle, Jacob Dingman, Andries Dingman, 
Jurrien Van Valkcnburgh, Hnns Van Valkenburgh, Wilmelmus 
Philip, Charles Smith, Johannes Traver, Jacob Cole, Cornelius Hoge- 
boom, Lawrence Scherp, Peter Scherp, Andries Witbeck, Peter Conyn, 
Benjamin Newkirk, Johannes Hogeboom, Barent Waeger, David 
Saeger, Michael Saeger, Johannes Foos, Nicholas Groat, Jerome 
Groat, Jacobus Groat, John Mandigo, John Rossman, David Foot, 
Michael Foot, Frederick Martin. 


First lieutenant, Hendrick Van Hoesen. 

Second lieutenant, Francis Hardick, Jr. 

Ensign, Samuel Ten Broeck. 

Sergeants, Garret Van Hoesen, Abraham E. Van Alen, Justus Van 
Hoesen, Justus Folkhamer. 

Privates. — Garret Hardick, Justus Hardick, Leonard Hardick, 
Jonathan Hardick, John Hardick, Jacob F. Van Hoesen, D.aniel 
Young, Jacob Hardick, Jr., Peter Becker, Cornelius Becker, Peter 
Hardick, John Nicholas Van Hoesen, William Van Hoesen, Cornelius 
Van Hoesen, Jr., Jacob John Van Iloesen, John Jacob Van Uoesen, 
John Becker, John Johannes Van Deusen, Isaac Morcy, John Har- 
dick, Jr., David Williams, Abel Brookway, Lucas Salsbury, Nicholas 
Van Hoesen, Benjamin Harder, William Cockrcn, Alexander Patter- 
son, Timothy Allen, Robert Coventry, John Holmes, John Van Sals- 
burgh, Mathias Hoes, Michael Harder, Jr., Peter Harder, John Folk- 
hamer, Andrew Bowman, Johannes Smith, Peter Smith, Johannes 


.fern Jf 1^1 . 

is ^/ 

-3 •s* 


Peter Smith, Hondrick Dingman, Andreas Dingman, Adolphus Ding- 
man, Tunis Smith, Thomas Patrick, Johannes Miller, Jr., Abraham 
A. Van Alen, Jacob L. Winegart, Killian Van Kensselaer, Peter Van 
Rensselaer, John Miller, William Henry Ludlow, Henry H. Ludlow, 
Leonard Ten Broek, Christopher Witmore, Jeremiah AJam Smith, 
Johannes Dingman, Cornelius Fonda. 


Captain, Jeremiah C. Miller. 

First lieutenant, William Van Ness. 

Second lieutenant, Hendrick Miller. 

Clerk, Christophel Miller. 

Sergeants, David Brewer, Hendrick Sholts, John Edmunds. 

Privatks.— Peter Wisner, Peter Groat, David Ilottman, Darby 
Nunan, Hendrick Miesick, Jr., William Mickle, Adam Herder, Luke 
Bowman, Stephen C. Miller, Jr., Jacob Harder, Brewer Decker, 
Hendrick Graat, Christian Haver, Christian Haver, Jr., Nicholas 
Stupplebeem, John Jerry Covel, Nicholas Simon, Wynaart Mantle, 
Johannes Holsapple, Johannes Moul, Cornelius J. Miller, Hendrick 
Philip, Peter Philip, Felta Stopplebeem, Helmas Ostrander, Jacob 
Conklin, John Rowe, Frederick Lant, George Lant, Bartholomew 
Van Valkenburgh, John C. Ten Broek, Philip Holsapple, Justus 
Brockway, Derick Russell, Abram I. Van Valkenburgh, Lawrence 
Lant, Jeremiah Lant, Mathias Embrigh, Francis Embrigh, Adam 
Embrigh, Hendrick Snyder, George Embrigh, John P. Van Salis- 
bergh, John Scott, Jr., Stephen S. Miller, Jeremiah Miller, George 
Cadman, Isaac Lanfear, Christopher Garneright, Leonard Van 
Hoesen, Nicholas Miller, William Holsapple, John G. Vought, Jacob 
Sharp, Godfrey Schoomaker, Urquehel Hyser, Alexander McLean, 
William Rowe, John Conklin. 

Another of the companies in this regiment was com- 
manded by Capt. John McKinstry, of Livingston, who 
fought bravely at the battle of the Cedars, on the St. 
Lawrence river, May 19, 1776, on which occasion he was 
captured by the Indians under tlie famous Thayendanega, 
or Captain Brant. The Indians having taken Capt. Mc- 
Kinstry, were preparing to murder him by torture, when, 
having heard tliat Brant was a Freemason, he bethought 
himself to give the hailing signal of distress, which the 
red chieftain recognized, and at once saved and liberated 
the captive. From that time Brant and Capt. McKinstry 
were fast friends during life. It is related that whenever 
afterwards the former came as near as Albany, he never 
failed to visit the man whose life he had saved, and that in 
1805 he, with Capt. (then Colonel) McKinstry, visited the 
Masonic lodge in Hudson, where he was handsomely re- 
ceived, and was an object of great curiosity. 

The following is an abstract of the commissioned and 
non-commissioned officers and soldiers belonging to Capt. 
John McKinstry's company in the Fifteenth Regiment, 
commanded by Col. John Patterson, for the month of Sep- 
tember, 1776, which is undoubtedly nearly identical with 
the company which he commanded at the Cedars, viz. : 

Captain, John McKinstry. 

First lieutenant, Thomas McKinstry. 

Second lieutenant, John Pennoyer. 

Ensign, Gerard Fitch. 

Sergeants, William Cheney, William Pike, Othniel Phelps, Jesse 
Hollister, William Roberts. 

Corporals, Prosper Policy, John Brown, Samuel Utley, William 
Roberts, Joel Phelps. 

Drummer, Abraham Ackley. 

PnivATES. — Joel Phelps, Isaac Welch, Matthew Hatch, Jonathan 
Dunham, Stephen Gregory, John Spencer, Mabra Evins, William 
Bennett, David Forbes, Malachi Gates, Michael Murray, Samuel 
Horsford, William Hatch, Isaac Doty, John Stewart, John Limmon, 
John Connolly, Isaiah Jurdin, Oliver Fletcher, Elihu Parker, Daniel 
Wilier, Josiah Cleveland, Charles Sheffield, David Hunt, 

Kinion, Elijah Hatch, Asa Crawfoot, James Hatch, Abel Buck, John 
Blair, Francis Baahcrow, Zachariah Newton, David Fletcher, James 
Russ, David Shepherd, David Webb. Morris Roach, Benjamin Wig- 
gins, Joseph Robbins, Michael Willson, William Brisie, Solomon 
Alexander, Daniel Pathin, Benjamin Graves, John Bcntley, William 
F. Jerts, Jonathan Tillison, Daniel Gray, John Scott, James Coven- 
try, Joseph Hollister, Daniel Avery, Amos Pennoyer. 

Capt. McKinstry also served in the campaign on the 
Mohawk, under Colonel Robert Van Rensselaer, of Clav- 
erack. During this service, while the command was march- 
ing to the relief of Fort Brown, which was invested and 
in most imminent danger, the captain took occasion to re- 
monstrate with Colonel Van Rensselaer, on account of the 
very slow progress which they were making, assuring him 
that the people at the fort would be overpowered and mas- 
sacred if they did not reach them soon, and that tliey were 
wasting time which was of priceless value. The colonel, 
instead of heeding McKinstry's protest, deliberately gave 
the order to halt for dinner, upon which the brave captain 
passionately broke his sword before the colonel's eyes, saying 
that under such a commander he had no need of a weapon. 
Whether he was placed in arrest for this insubordination 
and insult or not we have no account. 

Below is given a copy of the " Declaration of the officers 
of the Regiment of Hillsdale," dated " Claverack District, 
County of Albany, November 17, 1775," with the names 
of officers of six companies, as follows : 

"We, the subscribers, the officers of the Ninth regiment, in the 
county of Albany and Colony of New York, do hereby promise and 
Engage, under all the ties of religion, honor, and regard to our Coun- 
try, that we will respectively duly observe and carry into Execution to 
the utmost of our power all and every the orders. Rules, and recom- 
mendations made, or to be made, by the Continental Congress and the 
Congress or Convention of this Colony ; that we will also give, in our 
respective ranks, due obedience to the regulations by them established 
for the forming of the militia in the Colony, as also due obedience to 
such officers who either by rank or Superiority are placed above us, 
in such order as is directed by the said Continental or Provincial 

" Colonell, Peter Van Ness. 

"Lieutenant-Colonell, Stephen Hogeboom. 

" First Major, Jacob Ford. 

'* Second Major, David Pratt. 

"Adjutant, Bartholomew Heath. 

"Captain 1st Company, Philip Bartle. 

"First Lieutenant, Cornelius Hogeboom. 

"Second Lieutenant, Ellas Delong. 

"Ensigns, Ray; Francis Delong, Oct. 20, 1776. 

"Second Lieutenant, Benjamin Allen, Jan. 24, 1777. 

" Captain 2d Company, Ithamar Spencer. 

"First Lieutenant, Abner Hanley. 

"Second Lieutenant, Jonathan Pitcher, Oct. 20, 1776. 

" Ensign, Amaziah Phillips. 

"Captain 3d Company, Jonah Graves. 

" First Lieutenant, Charles McArthur. 

"Second Lieutenant, William Fickner. 

"Ensign, Stephen Graves, Oct. 20, 1776. 

"Captain 4th Company, Bartholomew Barrett, Oct. 21, 1776. 

"First Lieutenant, Abner Kellogg, Oct. 21, 1776. 

"Second Lieutenant, Daniel Boons, Oct. 21, 1776. 

"Ensign, Roswell Lee, Oct. 21, 1776. 

"Captain 5th Company, Jonathan Bixby, Deo. 2, 1776. 

"First Lieutenant, Abel Whalcn, Deo. 2, 1776. 

"Second Lieutenant, Joseph Heath, Dec. 2, 1776. 

"Ensign, Abram Bliss, Oct. 20, 1776. 

"Captain 6th Company, Nathaniel House, Dec. 10, 1776. 

" First Lieutenant, Joshua Whitney, Dec. 10, 1776. 

"Second Lieutenant, David McKinstry, Jan. 24, 1777. 

"Ensign, Johannis J. Van Valkenburgh." 



The later dates set against the names of some of the 
ofiScers lead to the belief that the regiment was not com- 
pleted and organized until the autumn of 1776. We are 
told in a general way that they served in the Mohawk 
country, but it is believed that a part of the command at 
least was with Gates' army at Saratoga. A full con)pany 
was in the service in 1777 under Capt. Tiel Rockefeller, of 
Germantown, and also a company of nine months' men 
under Capt. Lothrop Allen. 

Dr. Moses Younglove, then of the eastern part of the 
county, but afterwards of the city of Hudson, was in the 
service as brigade-surgeon under General Herkimer in the 
Mohawk valley, and was present at the battle of Oriskany, 
where he was made prisoner by an Indian, and received 
harsh usage during his captivity, as appears from an affi- 
davit made by him some months later before the Albany 
county committee, — John Barclay, chairman, — in which 
he deposed and said, "that being in the battle of said 
militia, above Oriskany, on the Gth of August last (1777), 
toward the close of said battle he surrendered himself a 
prisoner to a savage, who immediately gave him up to a 
sergeant of Sir John Johnson's regiment ; soon after which 
a lieutenant in the Indian department came up in company 
with several other Tories, when said Mr. Grinnis by name 
drew his tomahawk at this deponent, and with a deal of 
persuasion was hardly prevailed on to save his life. He 
then plundered him of his watch, buckles, spurs, etc. ; and 
other Tories following his example stripped him almost 
naked, with a great many threats while they were stripping, 
and massacreing prisoners on every side. That this de- 
ponent, on being brought before Mr. Butler, Sonr., who 
demanded of him what he was fighting for, to which this 
deponent answered, 'he fought for the liberty that God 
and Nature gave him, and to defend himself and dearest 
connections from the massacre of savages.' To which 
Butler replied, ' You are a damned impudent rebel,' and so 
saying, immediately turned to the savages, encouraging 
them to kill him, and if they did not the deponent and the 
other prisoners should be hanged on a gallows then pre- 
paring. That several prisoners were then taken forward 
toward the enemy's headquarters, with frequent scenes of 
horror and massacre, in which Tories were active as well as 
savages. . . . That the prisoners who were not delivered 
up were murdered in considerable numbers from day to 
day round the camp, some of them so nigh that their 
shrieks were heard. That Capt. Martin, of the bateaux- 
men, was delivered to the Indians at Oswego, on pretence 
of his having kept back some useful intelligence. That this 
deponent during his imprisonment, and his fellows, were kept 
almost starved for provisions ; and what they drew were of 
the worst kiud, such as spoiled flour, biscuit full of maggots 
and mouldy, and no soap allowed or other method of 
keeping clean ; and were insulted, struck, etc., without 
mercy by the guards, without any provocation given. That 
this deponent was informed by several sergeants orderly on 
Gen. St. Leger that twenty doUare were offered in general 
orders for every American scalp." Dr. Younglove died 
Jan. 31, 1829, at the age of seventy-seven years, and his 
ashes lie beneath a handsome monument in the Hudson 

The most prominent officer from this county who served in 
the American army during the Revolution was Gen. Henry 
B. Livingston. His first notable service in that war was at 
the storming of Quebec, in December, 1775, where he led an 
assaulting column against the defenses of the upper town. 
As lieutenant-colonel he commanded a regiment in the battle 
of Stillwater, in 1777, and was present at the surrender of 
Burgoyne. He commanded at Verplanck's Point at the 
time of Andre's capture and Arnold's escape, in 1780. With 
but a single light piece — a four-pounder — he audaciously 
engaged the British frigate " Vulture," and this he did with 
so much vigor and effect that but for the setting in of the 
flood-tide the ship must have sunk. As it was, the cannon- 
ade, by alarming and delaying Andre, led to his capture and 
saved West Point. Speaking of his conduct upon that oc- 
casion Gen. Washington said to him, " It is a great source 
of gratification to me that the post was in the hands of an 
officer so devoted as yourself to the cause of your country." 
And says Lossing, " Washington's confidence was not mis- 
placed, for there was not a purer patriot in that war than 
Henry B. Livingston." He was made a brigadier-general 
at the close of the war, and afterwards retired to his home 
in Columbia county, where he died in 1831. 



Formation of Districts — Erection and Subdivision of tlie County. 

Civil government was first introduced into what is now 
the State of New York from the Dutch Republic in 1621. 
Soon after the discovery of the " Great River of the Moun- 
tains" by Hudson, trading vessels were dispatched to the 
new land, whose enterprising skippers established trading- 
posts along the river, and shortly afterwards the States-Gen- 
eral took formal possession of the country, and the name of 
New Netherlands was given to the territory lying between 
New France and Virginia. 

On the 11th of October, 1614, a large commercial com- 
pany, similar to its prototype, the Dutch East India Com- 
pany, was formed and chartered by the Dutch States-Gen- 
eral, styled the " New Nelherland Company," for trading 
purposes with the Dutch possessions in America. The 
charter was to expire in three years from its date, but so 
profitable were the operations of the company at the expira- 
tion of their charter, that its wealth and consequent influence 
were such as to enable it to continue its monopoly of trade, 
and procure a still more liberal charter for a much more 
extensive company. In 1821 a second company was in- 
corporated and chartered, under the name of the " Dutch 
West India Company." It was a monopoly, founded 
in the selfish interests alone of trade, protracted and con- 
centrated even by the very limitation of its existence, which 
was to continue for a period of twenty-two years. 

On the 12th day of May, 1664, Charles II., King of 
England, disregarding the Dutch claim to the " New 
Netherlands," granted to his brother James, Duke of York 


and Albany, " all Mattawacks (now Lon>; Island), all Hud- 
son's river, all the lands from the west side of the Connec- 
ticut river to the east side of Delaware bay, together with 
the royalties and rights of government." 

To enforce this claim, Colonel Richard NicoUs was sent 
with a force naval and military, and Petrus Stuyvesant, the 
Dutch governor, surrendered the forts and government of 
the colony, stipulating for the retention of the rights of the 
West India Company in the lands then held by it and its 
grantees. In 1G67, by the treaty of Breda, between Eng- 
land and Holland, the possession of the country was guaran- 
teed to the Duke of York by the States-General. With 
the exception of a brief interval in 1673-74, when the 
Dutch gained a temporary supremacy, the colony or pi-ov- 
ince remained under the English rule until the war of (he 
American Revolution, when the prerogative of the king 
gave way to the constitution of a sovereign state, under 
which the people are supreme and the sole source of govern- 

Under the Dutch the only civil divisions were the city and 
towns. In 1605 a district or shrievalty, called Yorkshire, 
was erected, comprising Long Island, Staten Island, and a 
part of the present county of Westchester. For judicial 
purposes it was divided into the east, west, and north 
ridings. Counties were first erected by the Colonial As- 
sembly, in November, 1683, and were twelve in number, 
as follows: Albany, Cornwall, Dukes, " Dulchesses," Kings, 
New York, Orange, Queens, Richmond, SuflFolk, Ulster, 
and Westchester. 

The county of Albany, as then erected, contained within 
its boundaries the present area of Columbia, except such 
portion as lies south of Roeloff Jansen's Kill, which was 
then a part of Dutchess county. The former county was 
thus limited in the act of erection : " To conteyne the 
towne of Albany, the colony of Rensselaerswyck, Schonec- 
tade, and all the villages, neighborhoods, and Christian habit- 
aeons on the east of Hudson's river from Roeliffe Jansen's 
creek, and on the west from the Sawyer's creek to the Sar- 

The second Assembly, which met in 1691, under authority 
of the new sovereigns, William and Mary, declared the 
legislation of the first Assembly null and void.* and pro- 
ceeded to reorganize the counties. By that act of reorgan- 
ization (passed Oct. 1, 1691) the county of Albany was 
defined " to contain the manor of Rensselaerswyck, >Sche- 
nectada, and all the Villages, Neighborhoods, and Christian 
Plantations on the east side of Hudson's River from Roeloff 
Jansen's Creek, and on the west side from Sawyer's Creek 
to the outmost end of Saraghtoga." Dutchess county was 
by the same act described as extending " from the Bounds 
of the county of Westchester on the south side of the 
Highlands along the east side of Hudson's River as far 
as Roeloff Jansen's Creek, and eastward into the Woods 
Twelve Miles." This, so for as concerned the line between 
Dutchess and Albany, was but a re-establishment of the 
original boundary. 

Roeloff Jansen's creek continued to be the north bound- 
ary of Dutchess county until 1817, when (May 27) a law 

■ Journal of Colonial Assembly. 

was passed enacting that " the manor of Livingston shall 
be and forever remain annexed to the Countie of Albanic, 
and be accounted as Part, Parcel, and Member thereof, 
which bounds of the said Manor shall end and terminate 
the Countie of Albanie on the Ea-stside of Hudson's River, 
as the Sawyer's Creek doth terminate the same on the west 
side thereof" 

By an act passed March 24, 1772, the territory now 
Columbia county was divided and formed into districts iis 
follows, viz. : 

"All that part of the county of Albany north of the county of 
Datchess and south of the boanU of Chvveraok, oootinue;! to the 
easternmost extent of this Colony and to the eastward of Hudson's 
River, shall be called and known as the District of the Manor of Liv- 
ingston;" and 

"All that part which lies to the eastward of KinJerhook District, 
to the north of Claverack District, and to the west of the east bounds 
of this Colony, and to the south of an East line from Bcaren Island, 
shall be one separate and distinct district, and bo henceforth called 
and known by the name of Kings District;" and 

"All that part of said county of Albany which is bounded on the 
south by the district of the Manor of Livingston, on the east by the 
east bounds of this Colony, on the west by Hudson's River, on the 
north by a Line beginning at the mouth of Major Abraham's Creek, 
and running thence up to the first falls, and from thence east as far 
as this Colony extends, shall be, and is hereby declared to be, one 
separate and distinct District, and the same shall be from henceforth 
called and known by the Name of the District of Claverack ;" and 

"All that part of the said county of Albany which lies to the 
northward of Claverack District, to the southward of an east line 
from Bearen Island in Hudson's Kivcr to the eastward of Hudson's 
River, and to the west of a straight line drawn from a point in the 
said East line from Bearen Island ten miles distant from Hudson's 
River, and continued due south till it strikes the north bounds of the 
District of Claverask, shall be one separate and distinct District, to 
be called and known by the name of the District of Kindcrhook ." 

Germantown was formed into a district April 1, 1775. 
Hillsdale was taken from Claverack and made a district 
March 26, 1782. 

The city of Hudson was incorporated April 22, 1785, to 
include all the territory embraced within the boundaries of 
Major Abraham's (Stockport) creek on the north, Claverack 
creek on the east, the north line of the district of the 
manor of Livingston on the south, and the Hudson river 
on the west. 

The districts were all formed prior to the organization of 
Columbia county, which was erected as such by act of Legis- 
lature, passed April 1, 1876,| as follows : 

"An Act tu divide the Cmnty of Albany iniu tioo Cmnitiei. 

" Wkercus, the County of Albany is so Extensive as to be Incon- 
venient to its Inhabitants, therefore be it enacted by the People of 
the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, and it 
is hereby enacted by the Authority of the same, that that part of the 
County of Albany which lies on the East side of Hudson's River, on 
the South side of the North Line of Kindcrhook District, and on the 
South of the North Line of King's District, shall bo one separate and 
Distinct County, and shall be called and known by the name of Co- 
lumbia; and be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the 
said County of Columbia shall hold and enjoy all the Rights, Privi- 

f On the first day of April, 1798, the south boundary line of the 
county was defined to be "a due East line drawn from the South bank 
of the Sawyer's Kill, on the west side of Hudson's river, continued 
due East till it meets with a line settled and established between 
Robert R. Livingston and Z.achariah Hoffman, deceased, and others 
as the mutual boundary so far as it respected them individually, 
then along the same as far as it runs, and thence on the same course 
continued to the southermost bend of RoeloBf Jansen's Kill." 



leges, and Immunities which appertain to other Counties within this 

" And be it further Enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the 
Court-House and Gaol for the said County of Columbia shall be 
erected at or near the where the old church in Clavernck now 

(Signed) " Pierre Van Cortlandt, Pres. Sen. 

" John Laxsinc, Jr., Speaker. 
" Geo. Clinton." 

The original towns of Columbia county, seven in num- 
ber, were erected as such by an act passed March 7, 1788 ; 
their territorial description and boundaries being established 
by that act as follows, viz. : 

"All that part of the County of Columbia bounded westerly and 
northerly by the County'of Albany, southerly by the north bounds of 
the city of Hudson as far as the first falls in Major Abraham's Creek, 
and from thence running east and easterly by a line running from a 
place in the north line of the county of Columbia ten miles distant 
from Hudson's River, due south, until it strikes the said last line from 
the said Falls," to be the town of Kinderhook ; and 

"All that part of the said county now called Kings District 
bounded westerly by Kinderhook, northerly by the County of Albany, 
easterly by the east bounds of the State, and southerly by the said 
east line from the first falls in Major Abraham's Creek aforesaid, con- 
tinued to the east bounds of this State, shall be, and hereby is, erected 
into a town by the name of Canaan ;" and 

"All that part bounded southerly by the Manor of Livingston, 
westerly by the city of Hudson, northerly by Kinderhook, and east- 
erly by a line beginning at the southeast corner of Kinderhook, and 
running thence south fourteen degrees west to the Manor of Living- 
ston," was established as the town of Claverack ; and 

"All that part of the said county bounded westerly by Claverack, 
northerly by Canaan, easterly by the east bounds of this State, and 
southerly by the Manor of Livingston and the north line thereof, con- 
tinued to the east bounds of the State," was erected as Hillsdale ; 

" All that part of said county beginning on the south side of the 
mouth of a certain river, commonly called Roeloff Jansen's Kill, and 
running thence along the south side of said river eastwardly until it 
comes to the Tract of Land heretofore granted to Dirck Wessels, 
lying on both sides of said river, thence along the westerly, northerly, 
and easterly bounds of the said tract until it again eomes to the said 
river, and then along the south side of the said river, and then (by 
various courses) till it meets with the north line of the county of 
Dutchess, and thence westerly along the Line of the said county of 
Dutchess to Hudson's River, and thence northerly up along said river 
to the place of beginning," was erected as the town of Clermont, 
"except thereout the Tract of Country called the German, or East 
Camp ;" and 

"All that part of the said county known by the name of the Ger- 
man, or East Camp," was erected as Germantown. 

"And all the remaining Part of the said county of Columbia shall 
be and is hereby erected into a town by the name of Livingston." 

The other towns which are at present embraced in the 
county have been formed and erected as follows: 

Chatham, formed from Canaan and Kinderhook, erected 
March 17, 1795. 

Ancram, from Livingston, erected as Gallatin, March 19, 
1803 ; name changed as at present March 25, 1814. 

Taghkanic, from Livingston, erected as Granger, March 
19, 1803 ; present name adopted March 25, 1814. 

Austerlitz, from Canaan, Chatham, and Hillsdale, erected 
March 28, 1818. 

Ghent, from Chatham, Claverack, and Kinderhook, 
erected April 3, 1818. 

New Lebanon, from Canaan, erected April 21, 1818. 

Stuyvesant, from Kinderhook, erected April 21, 1823. 

Copake, from Taghkanic, erected March 26, 1824. 

Gallatin, froft Ancram, erected March 27, 1830. 

Stockport, from Hudson, Ghent, and Stuyvesant, erected 
April 30, 1833. 

Greenport, from Hudson, erected March 13, 1837. 

Additional territory taken from Clermont was given to 
Germantown, March 2, 1858. 




The peculiar disturbances known as anti-rent troubles 
may be said to have existed in Columbia county for a full 
century before their final extinguishment, for, although the 
long serie.s of violent and unlawful acts which were com- 
mitted in the vicinity of the eastern border, and which 
had their commencement about the year 1750, have been 
most frequently mentioned as growing out of the question 
of the disputed boundary line between New York and 
Massachusetts, yet it is doubtful whether the controversy 
between the provinces was not less a cause of than a con- 
venient excuse for the lawlessness of those who were deter- 
mined to free themselves from the burden of yearly rent to 
the manors, particularly that of Livingston, which, as they 
asserted, owed its very existence to " falsehood and fraudu- 
lent pretenses." . 

This question of boundary had been long held in dispute. 
By the government of New York it was maintained that 
their eastern limit was the Connecticut river, because " that 
the Dutch claimed the colony of New Netherlandt as ex- 
tending from Cape Cod to Cape Cornelius, now called Cape 
Henlopen, Westward of Delaware Bay along the Sea Coast, 
and as far back as any of the Rivers within these Limits 
extend ; and that they were actually possessed of Connect- 
icut River long before any other European People knew 
anything of the Existence of such a River, and were not 
only possessed of the Mouth of it, where they had a Fort 
and Garrison, but discovered the River above a hundred 
miles up, had their People trading there, and purchased of 
the Natives almost all the Lands on both sides of the said 
River, and that the Dutch Governor Stuyvesant did in the 
year 1664 surrender all the Country which the Dutch did 
then possess to King Charles the Second, and that the 
States-General made a Cession thereof by the Treaty of 
Breda in the year 1667. That the Dutch re-conquered 
part of this Province in 1673, and surrendered and abso- 
lutely yielded it to King Charles the Second, in 1673-74, 
by the Treaty of London, and that in 1674 King Charles 
granted to the Duke of York all the Land between Con- 
necticut River and Delaware Bay." 

The Massachusetts government scouted this argument, 
and in turn claimed westward at least as far as the Hudson 
river,* although, as they said, they " had for a long Time 

^' For the ulterior purpose of establishing their claims upon the 
Hudson the Boston government had, as early as 1669, made a grant 
of land on the Hudson river, below Fort Orange, and in 1672 they 
sent John Payne to New York to solicit permission to pass and re- 
pass by water. He was received by the authorities with great con- 
sideration and courtesy, and his request was referred to the king, but 
was never granted. 



neglected the settlement of the West Bounds, they lying 
very remote from Boston." 

The council of New York inquired, " By what Warrant 
they Claim or Exercise any right To soil or Jurisdiction 
west of Connecticut River ?" The general court of Mas- 
sachusetts, in a report made to their governor, September 
11, 1753, retorted that "It is Demanded of this Govern- 
ment What Right we have to Soil or Jurisdiction West of 
Connecticut River, Suggesting that it was but very lately 
they knew we had any possessions West of that River ; 
this proceeding of the Gentlemen of New York appears 
indeed extraordinary, as severall of our ancient and best 
Towns Had been settled West of this River about an 
hundred Years, and the Shire Town of Springfield near a 
hundred and Twenty Years." 

" On the first reading of the above paragraph," said the 
committee of the council of New York, in a report made 
November 16, 1753, " few of us doubted but that the Shire 
Town of Springfield had been situated on the west side of 
Connecticut river Till we were informed that it was on the 
East side of that river, and that Mr. Poplis' Large map 
Represents it so, which Information some of us doubts the 
Truth of, Because of the DilSculty of Reconciling it with 
what was Conceived the Obvious sense of the above para- 
graph." And the commit;tee proceeded to say that " The 
Massachusetts Government have been pleased to appoint a 
time and place for the meeting of their CDmmissioners with 
those of this province. If they would have been pleased 
to have Recollected that the Government of this Province 
is his Majesty's Immediate Government, which theirs is 
not, it would have been something more Decent to have 
referred the naming of those things to this Government.* 
And as his Blajesty is concerned in the Controversy, and 
no Settlement which can be made by any authority derived 
from Both Governments without the Royal Direction, par- 
ticipation, and Concurrence cau be Binding on the Crown, 
we Conceive that the appointment of Commissioners for the 
purpose would not only be fruitless and Ineffectual to the 
Determination of the Controversy, but also Derogatory To 
the rights of the Crown and disrespectfull to his most 
Sacred Majesty." 

And thus the controversy grew more complicated as time 
elapsed, neither party appearing willing to concede, though 
both were evidently conscious of the extravagance of their 
claims ; for it is noticeable that in the voluminous corre- 
spondence which ensued between the governments in refer- 
ence to the numerous acts of aggression committed by the 
respective partisans upon the disputed territory, frequent 
allusion was made to the distance from the river at which 
those acts were perpetrated ; this being really an acknowl- 
edgment on both sides that the boundary should be, and 
probably would be, established on the basis suggested by 
the commissioners of the crown in 1664, and, as between 
New York and Connecticut, agreed on by Governors Don- 

* Commissioners appointed by botti provinces, however, met in 
conference at Aibanj in June, 1754, " but could not come to any sort 
of agreement ; and if we may be allowed to judge of this transaction 
from events which have happened since, instead of operating as a 
remedy to the evil, it has had quite a contrary effect." — lU/iurl vf the 
Lords of Trade to the Kiiuj, May 25, 1757. 

gan and Treat in 1685, and confirmed by King William 
March 28, a.u. 1700 ; namely, a line running generally 
parallel to, and twenty miles east of, the Hudson river. 

It was in the fall of 1751 that the first symptoms of dis- ' 
turbance became manifest, in defiant threats made by the 
tenants on Livingston manor against their landlord, Robert 
Livingston, Jr., grandson of the first proprietor. Many of 
these tenants had neglected to pay their rents, and now 
neglect grew into refusal, open defiance, and an avowed 
purpose to continue their occupation, not as tenants, but as 
owners, under authority of grants to be secured from the 
government of Massachusetts Bay. Among the earliest, 
and at that time the principal, malcontents were Michael 
Hallenbeck, a tenant upon the manor for thirty years, and 
Josiah Loomis, an ore-digger at the iron mines, and a 
tenant for twelve years under Livingston, who now brought 
action of trespass against Hallenbeck, and warned Loomis 
off his manor. Whether this action of the proprietor was 
the cause of, or was caused by, their rebellious conduct does 
not clearly appear, but it resulted in their seeking protection 
from the assumed authority of the adjoining province. 

Not long after Livingston received a letter from a resident 
of Slioffield, the tenor of which was us follows : 

" March 2), 1 752. 

" Silt, — in consequence of an order of a Committee of the Gencnil 
Court of the Province of Massachusetts Bay to lay out Equivalents in 
the Province land, I have begun on the East side of Tackinick Bar- 
rick and laid out a large Farm which encompasses the Dwellings of 
Michael Hallenbceck and Josiah Loomis, and you may depend on it 
the Province will assert their rights to said lands. 1 have heard you 
have sued the one and threatened the other, which possibly may not 
turn out to your advantage. I should have gladly seen you and 
talk'd of the affair with Calmness and in a friendly manner, which I 
hope to have an opportunity to do. In the mean time, I am. Sir, 
your very humble servant, Oliver Parthidge." 

This seems to mark the commencement of a long-con- 
tinued series of active hostilities between the two provinces. 

On the 16th of April, 1752, Mr. Livingston made his 
grievances known in a communication addressed to the 
governor, requesting that ofiicial to cause the apprehension 
and committal of such persons as should disturb his pos- 
sessions under pretense of authority from Massachusetts: 
The petition was referred to Attorney-General William 
Smith, who reported that in his opinion it was most ex- 
pedient for the governor " not to Interpose at present by any 
Extraordinary Act or Order, but leave the Petitioner to bis 
Ordinary Remedy at Law ;. and if any of his Pos.scssions 
sxe forcibly taken or forci'b/i/ held from him, the Statutes of 
England being duly put in Execution will sufficiently punish 
the offenders and afford a speedy Relief to the Petitioner." 

On the 22d of November, 1752, William Bull and fifty- 
seven others, many of them tenants upon the manors of 
Livingston and Van Rensselaer petitioned the IMassa- 
chusetts general court for a grant of land, which they de- 
scribed as " Beginning at the Top of the first Great Moun- 
tain west of Sheffield, running northwesterly with the 
General course of the Mountain about nine or Ten miles ; 
thence turning and running West about six Miles, thence 
running Southerly to the North Line of Connecticut out; 
thence running Easterly to the first-mentioned Boundary. "f 

t These boundaries clearly inclose » tract of which a great por- 
tion is included in the present bounds of MassacUsetts. 



This petition of Bull and others was regarded hy Mr. 
Livingston as " the Groundwork of all the proceedings" by 
which he was afterwards so seriously disturbed in his pos- 
sessions ; and this view seems to have been shared by the 
Legislature of Massachusetts, who reported " that the pres- 
ent warmth and disorders arose upon, or at least quickly 
after, the Petition of some per.sons (who had encroaeh'd 
on this Province's ungranted Lands West of Sheffield) ; 
that the General Court of this Province would sell or dis- 
pose of to them the Lands they thus possosst ;" proceeding 
to state that " not long after this a Number of persons in 
the Employ of Robert Livingston, jr., Esqr., burnt down 
the Dwelling-house of George Robinson, one of these Pe- 
titioners, and Mr. Livingston caused his Body to be 
attached and Committed to Albany Gaol, by a Warrant 
from Authority in New York Province, who was after- 
wards Bailed by Order of this Government ;" but Living- 
ston declared that he caused Robinson's incarceration for 
trespass in carrying away his (Livingston's) goods, and 
that in his opinion the bailing and defending of him by 
the Massachusetts government was " an Aiding and abet- 
ting of the said Trespass, and an Encouragement to future 
Trespassers of the like kind." 

In the spring of 1753 the Massachusetts government, 
under the plea that they "judged it vain to attempt any- 
thing by way of Treaty in the Controversy," appointed 
Joseph Dwight, Esq., Colonel Bradford, and Captain Liver- 
more a committee to view the lands west of Sheffield and 
Stoclvbridge, and report the exact state of affairs there. 
In the report of the doings of this comtnittee it is narrated 
that they met Robert Livingston upon the ground in April, 
1753, and that it was mutually agreed that all proceedings 
should be held in abeyance, awaiting a final adjustment of 
the boundary ; but that notwithstanding this, in July 
" Mr. Livingston, with above sixty men, armed with Guns, 
Swords, and Cutlasses, in a very hostile and riotous man- 
ner, entered upon part of said Lands in the possession of 
Josiah Loomis, Cut down his Wheat and carried it away 
in his Wagons, and destroyed above five acres of Indian 

The account given by Mr. Livingston, however, was ma- 
terially difierent. He related that having met the com- 
mittee and explained the tenure by which he held the lands, 
showing his boundaries, and that the extent of his patent 
was nineteen miles and thirty rods eastward from Hudson's 
river into the woods, they all proceeded to Taghkanic, 
where they found a great number of people were collected, 
to whom the committee recommended that they remain 
quiet and satisfied until the settlement of a division line, 
and that such as were tenants should pay their rents hon- 
e.stly to the landlord. It was his belief, however, that the 
committee were insincere in this, desiring only to quiet him 
for the time being, so that they could afterwards execute 
their scheme without his presence or interruption ; and that 
after his departure to his manor-house they secretly gave 
orders for the survey of the tract petitioned for by William 
Bull and others ; which, he added, was accordingly done by 
seven New England men, assisted by the sons of four of 
his tenants, and they took possession by the construction of 
a tree-fence. And that as to the matter of Josiah Loomis, he 

was a tenant at will, and had been ordered to leave the 
manor two years before ; whereon the said Loomis had 
begged leave to stay long enough to raise one more summer 
crop, after which he promised he would remove. Instead of 
which he prepared to put in still another crop, which Mr. 
Livingston, on being informed of the fact, plainly declared 
to him that he should never reap ; in accordance with which 
warning he (Livingston) at harvest-time " went with a Suf- 
ficient number of people, and did accordingly Cutt Down 
and Carry away that crop, as it was Lawful and right for 
him to do." 

These occurrences were followed by many similar ones, 
acts of aggression and retaliation committed by both parties ; 
not of great moment, except as showing how the temper 
and animosities of the contestants were gradually wrought 
up and increased until they became ripe for more serious 

A man named Joseph Payne was arrested in 1753 by 
Mr. Livingston for the alleged destruction of about eleven 
hundred trees near the Ancram furnace, and was imprisoned 
in the Albany jail in defiiult of bail to the amount of one 
thousand pounds, which was afterwards furnished by Col- 
onel Lydius, at the instance of the Boston government. 
This occurrence was the cause of much bitterness of feel- 
ing and many recriminations. On the 19th of July in 
that year a party of men, of whom Captain David Inger- 
soll, of Sheffield, was said to be a ringleader, claiming to 
act under authority from Massachusetts, entered the house 
of Robert Vanduesen, taking him and his son Johannes as 
prisoners to the jail at Springfield upon charge of being 
members of the party who despoiled the crops of Josiah 
Loomis. Nine days later the governor issued his proclama- 
tion ordering the arrest and imprisonment of these rioters, 
upon which Michael Hallenbeck (who was said to be one 
of the number) was arrested and imprisoned in the jail of 
Dutchess county. Concerning this arrest the general court 
of Massachusetts reported (Sept. 11, 1753) to their gover- 
nor that " Jlichael Halenbeck, whom they (the New York 
partisans) supposed to favor the taking of the Van Dusars, 
has been apprehended and closely confined in Dutchess 
county jail (it is said to be in a dungeon), and the most un- 
exceptional Bail refused," and it was voted that the gover- 
nor be desired as soon as might be to write very particu- 
larly on this affair to the governor of New York. This 
Governor Shirley did, and in due time received the reply 
of Governor Clinton, dated Oct. 1, 1753, assuring him 
" that Michael Hallinbeck, who was lately confined in the 
Gaol of Dutchess County, made his Escape from thence with 
several other debtors. Nor can I think he met with any 
severe Treatment while there. It must be a mistake that 
he was confined in a Dungeon, there being, I am told, no 
such Place belonging to that Gaol ; and as to Bail being re- 
fused for his Appearance, in this, too, I imagine your Gov- 
ernment has been misinformed, for, as he was committed on 
the Proclamation I issued, with the Advice of the Council, 
he could not have been admitted to Bail but by Applica- 
cation to the Chancellor or to one of the Judges of the 
Supreme Court, and I am well assured no such Application 
was ever made." 

The Indian irruptions of 1754, at Hoosick and Stock- 



bridge, had caused the organization of several military com- 
panies in the vicinity of the border and within the disputed 
territory. There were at least two of these in Sheffield, 
commanded by Captains David IngersoU and John Ashley, 
one at Taghkanic, with Michael Hallenbock as captain, 
and one at Claverack, under Robert Noble, a tenant of 
Rensselaerwyck ; all these being under commission by the 
governor of Massachusetts ; while Robert Livingston, Jr., 
and Dirck Ten Broeck, holding respectively the commissions 
of captain and lieutenant from the governor of New York, 
commanded a company made up of men living on both the 
Livingston and the Van Rensselaer manors. These com- 
panies, especially those of Noble and Hallenbeck, were not 
provided with a full complement of muskets, but the defi- 
ciency in this particular was made good by the use of pikes, 
cutlasses, and hatchets, which perhaps answered all the 
purposes of firearms. It was chiefly to meet the exigencies 
of Indian attack that these bodies were organized,* but it 
is found that they were used to no .small extent as agents of 
intimidation, and even of bloodshed, in the bitter quarrel 
of which we write. 

The disaffection which first appeared among Livingston's 
tenants had now spread to those of the manor of Van 
Rensselaer, the proprietor of which, in an affidavit made at 
Claverack, Feb. 22, 1755, deposed " that one Robert Noble 
and severall other of his Tenants within the said manner 
had Entered into a Confirmation with some Boston People, 
and disclaimed being any Longer Tenants to or under him, 
and gave out and pretended to hold their Lands and pos- 
sessions within the said Manner under the Boston Govern- 
ment, and that they had taken Clark Pixley, one of the 
Constables of Claverack in the said Mannor, and by force 
of Arms, and had Carried him thence, and one John Mor- 
ress, prisoners into Boston Government, and also had been 
Guilty of other Outrages and Threatenings upon severall 
other of his Tennents, in order to force and Compell them 
to Join in opposing the Deponent's Rights and Title in the 
said Mannor; .... and that he was informed that his 
Excellency Governour Shirley had given the said Robert 
Noble a Commission to be Captain of a Company within 
Claverack in the Manor of Rensselaerwyck, and that he 
had also appointed and Commissionated several other Mili- 
tary Officers to Doe Duty and Have Jurisdiction Within the 
said Mannor, and also in the Mannor of Livingston." 

The cause of the capture of Clark Pixley and John 
Morris does not appear. They were seized on the 7th of 
February, by Robert Noble and a part of his company, and 
were taken to Springfield jail. On the 11th, Sheriff Abra- 
ham Yates, Jr., with a posse, and accompanied by John 
Van Rensselaer and his brother Henry, set out from Clav- 
erack, and proceeded towards Noble's house, for the pur- 
pose of effecting his arrest. On their way they saw and 
captured Thomas Whitney, one of the party who took Pix- 

* Mr. Livingston wrote the governor, in February, 1755, advising 
him of the raising of a company of one hundred men ** to Difeiid 
Taghkanick against the French and Indians, but it is supposed it is 
in order to possess themselves of my Lands." 

A military company had exi.«ted on Livingston manor since the 
e.irly days of the Palatines. In 1715 it mustered sixty-eight, rank 
and file. 

ley. They found Noble's house transformed into a sort of 
fortification, with loop-holes for musketry, and garrisoned 
with some twenty armed men, under command of Captain 
Noble, who himself carried a pike, which he presented at 
the breast of the sheriff, demanding of which side he was; 
to which Yates replied that he was high-sheriff of the city 
and county of Albany. With that his prisoner, Whitney, 
was rescued from him, and he himself seized and confined in 
Noble's house, where he remained under guard from eleven 
A.M. until ten at night, when he was conveyed to Sheffield, 
and there remained in custody for twenty-four hours, at the 
end of which time he was released on a bail of one hundred 
and fifty pounds to appear for trial at the May term of 
court; the offense charged against him being that of having 
dispossessed two persons, one a tenant of Van Rensselaer 
and the other of Livingston, but who claimed to hold under 
Massachusetts authority. 

The namosf of the sheriff's captors were Robert Noble, 
Thomas Willnie, Jacob Bacon, Joseph Jellit, Benjamin 
Lovejoy, Elysa Stodder, Benjamin Chittenton, Richard 
Vane, Talvenis Stevens, Wheat Herk, William S. Hallen- 
beck, Myhiel Hallenbeck, Hendrick A. Brosie, William J. 
Rees, Francis Bovie, Andris J. Rees, William J. Hallen- 
beck, Nathan Lovejoy, Hyman Spenser, Andrew Lovejoy, 
and Daniel Lovejoy. A proclamation ordering their ap- 
prehension was issued on the 2d of April, and on the 
13th four of them, including Josiah Loomis, were arrested 
and lodged in jail ; their captain, Noble, and the remainder 
of the company having fled from their stronghold and 
retired to Sheffield before the approach of the capturing 
party, which was led by John and Henry Van Rensselaer 
and numbered between thirty and forty men. On the fol- 
lowing morning at daylight the party appeared at the house 
of William Rees, a tenant of Livingston, and one of the 
partisans of Noble. Finding that Rees was in the house, 
they demanded his surrender, which was refused, and im- 
mediately after he was shot dead by one of the Rensselaer 
party named Matthew Furlong. 

The exact circumstances of this killing will never be 
known. The statement made by the Van Ren.sselaer party 
was that Rees was desired to open the door, which he re- 
fused to do, and at the same time swore that he would take 
their lives ; whereupon a board was broken from the door, 
and through this opening Rees attempted to fire on the 
party, but fortunately his gun missed fire. That the assail- 
ants then rushed into the house, and Rees retreated to the 
garret, and thence out through the roof, and was in the 
very act of firing upon Furlong, when the latter in self- 
defense shot him through the body, and then surrendered 
himself to Justice Ten Broeck, who was also lieutenant of 
the company. It was further stated as being susceptible of 
proof, that Rees had repeatedly declared his determination 
to kill one at least, and particularly on the occasion of the 
seizure of Sheriff Yates. 

Upon the other side, it was asserted that Rees had at- 
tempted no resistance, but had retreated by the garret and 
through the roof, and was running away when he received 
the death-wound ; that an inquest was held upon the 

t Vide Doe. Hist. N. Y., vol. iii. p. 778. 



body, which was found to be pierced in seven places, appar- 
ently by buckshot, and that the jury returned a verdict of 
willful murder. 

A proclamation was at once issued by Governor Phips, 
of Massachusetts, offering a reward of one hundred pounds 
for the arrest and delivery of those engaged in the homicide ; 
ETid under pretext of this authority, on the 6th of May fol- 
lowing, the sheriff of Hampshire county, supported by a 
posse of over one hundred men, many of them tenants of 
Livingston and Van Rensselaer, made a descent on Liv- 
ingston's iron-works at Ancraui, capturing and carrying 
to prison in Massachusetts eight of Mr. Livingston's de- 
pendents who were present at the killing of Rees. Fur- 
long, however, was not among the number taken, and as, 
upon examination of these prisoners at Springfield, it was 
found that no complicity in the homicide could be proved 
against them, they were sent under guard to Sheffield, with 
orders that they be held there as hostages, to be released 
when, and not before, the authorities of New York should 
liberate the Massachusetts partisans and anti-renters then 
confined at Albany. 

The killing of Rees seems to have intensified the bitter- 
ness of feeling on both sides, but more particularly among 
the opponents of Livingston and Van Rensselaer. A sur- 
veying-party, acting under Massachusetts authority, and 
protected by a body of about one hundred armed men, set 
out from Sheffield, and during the months of April and 
May, 1755, surveyed several townships west of the Tagh- 
kanic mountains, and within the two manors, but chiefly 
in that of Rensselaer. These " townships" each embraced 
a territory about five miles east and west, and seven miles 
north and south ; and within these a tract of one hundred 
acres was presented as a free gift to each tenant or other 
person who would accept and hold it against the propri- 
etors ;* the remainder of the lands being sold or released 
by the Massachusetts government to purchasers at two 
shillings an acre. The result was that these " townships" 
became peopled by settlers who cared nothing for Massa- 
chusetts Bay except for the protection which that govern- 
ment afforded them against the rightful authority of the 
province of New York ; but who were moved, first by a 
desire and determination to possess the land without ren- 
dering an equivalent, and next by an intense hatred of the 
proprietors, especially Livingston, whose life they freely 
threatened and placed in such jeopardy that he dared not 
travel through his estate, or even remain at his manor-house, 
without a guard of armed men.f 

« Vide Documentary Hist. N. Y., vol. iii. p. 807, report William 
Smith and Kobert K. Livingston. 

t"Mr. Robert Livingstone's Tennants being encouraged by such 
Proceedings to hold their Farms independent of him, was advised 
by his Lawyers to serve the most riotous of them with ejectments; 
and having the last term obtain'd judgment against them, The 
Sheriff of the County of Albany was ordered to turn them out of 
Possession and put him in. He accordingly, on the 25th of last 
month, went with some men he summoned to attend him to some 
houses of the ejected, and after some opposition effected it. . . . On 
the 29, one J.ames Connor, of Sheffield, came to Mr. Livingston and 
informed him that two of Van Gelden's sons had been at Sheffield, 
when he heard them say they would have Timothy Connor (head 
collier to Mr. Livingston) dead or alive; that they would burn his 
(Mr. Livingston's) house over his head; that they went from thence 

A very serious riot and resistance of authority took 
place on the 7th of May, 1757, by thirty-one anti-rent 
partisans, who were partially fortified in the house of Jona- 
than Darby at Taghkanic. In this affair two were killed 
and several wounded. In consequence of this. Gov. De 
Lancey issued his proclamation, June 8 of that year, 
declaring that certain persons residing in or near the eastern 
borders of the province had entered into a combination to 
dispossess Robert Livingston of his lands comprised in the 
manor of Livingston, etc., and ordering the apprehension 
of all the persons concerned in the riot at Darby's on the 
7th of May. Under this authority a number of them were 
arrested, and remained incarcerated in prison at Albany 
for about two years. This had the effect to quell the 
disturbances, and for a considerable time afterwards the 
proprietors of the manors remained undisturbed. 

It having become apparent to the home government that 
it was useless to expect an adjustment of the boundary by 
agreement between the two provinces, the matter was sub- 
mitted for final settlement to the Lords Commissioners of 
Trade, who, on the 25th of May, 1757, made known to the 
king, George II., their decision as follows : 

'* Upon a full consideration of this matter, and of the little proba- 
bility there is that the dispute can ever be determined by any 
amicable agreement between the two Govern'ts, it appeared to us 
that the only effectual method of putting an end to it and preventing 
those further misohiels which may be expected to follow so long as 
the cause subsists, would be by the interposition of your Maj'tya 
authority to settle such a line of partition as should, upon a consid- 
eration of the actual and ancient possession of both pi-ovinces with- 
out regard to the e.xorbitant claims of either, appear to be just and 
equitable. And we conceive it the more necessary to rest the deter- 
mination upon these principles, because We find, upon examining 
the Grant from King Charles the 2nd to the Duke of York in 1663-64, 
and the Royal Charter granted to the Massachusetts Bay in 1691, 
that the description of the limits of those grants is so inexplicit and 
defective, that no conclusive Inference can be drawn from them with 
respect to the extent of territory originally intended to be granted 
by them. We have, therefore, had recourse to such papers on Record 
in our OfBce as might shew the Actual and Ancient possession of the 
Provinces in question ; and as it appeared by several of them, of 
dates almost as old as the said Grant, that the Province of the 
Massachusetts Bay had in those times been understood to extend to 
within 20 miles of Hudson's River, and that many settlements had 
at different times been made so far to the Westward by the people of 

to Stockbridge to invite those Indians to assist them to execute this 
scene of Villany, and that if they could not prevail on them, they 
would go to the Mohawks and require assistance from them. Mr. 
Livingston further informs me that one Nicholas Koens came twenty 
miles to advise him to keep a good watch, for that Van Gelden's sons 
intended to come with the Stockbridge Indians to murder him and 
burn all he had. . . . And to prevent their carrying into execution 
their threats, I applied to Lord Loudoun for a sufficient Guard to be 
quartered at the House and Iron-Works of Mr. Livingston for the 
security of his family, when his Lordship informed me he had heard 
the story from the Mayor of Albany, who is Coroner of the county, 
who he advised to make a requisition of such a guard in Mr. Living- 
ston's name, and that he had left orders with General Abercrombie 
to send an officer and twenty-five men to Mr. Livingston's. Sir Wil- 
liam Johnson was with Lord Loudoun at the Storys being told, who 
acquainted his Lordship that he would send immediately to the 
Stockbridge Indians. By all these precautions I trust Mr. Living- 
ston will have no further disturbance for the present, for I cannot 
flatter myself that these violations will not be attempted again if 
opportunitys offer for it, and his House left unguarded." — Vide Culo- 
ninl Hi,t. Sinte of N. Y., vol. vii. p. 206. Letter of Governor Hard^ 
to the Lords of Trade, Dec. 22, 1756. 



that province; and as that evidence coincides with the general prin- 
ciple of the agreement bstwcen the province of New York and the 
Colony of Connecticut iu 16S3, which has received the Royal confir- 
mation : We are of opinion that a line to be drawn Northerly from a 
point on the South boundary line of the Massachusetts Bay twenty 
miles distant du". East from Hudson's River to another point 20 
miles distant due East from the said river on that line which divides 
the Provinces of New Hampshire and the Massachusetts Bay would 
be a just and equitable line of division between Your Maj'tys prov- 
inces of New York and the Massachusetts Bay. 

"But as a doubt might arise whether such boundary could be es- 
tablished without the concurrence of the Massachusetts Bay, the soil 
and Jurisdiction of it being granted by Royal Charter, We thought 
proper to call before Us the Agents for the two provinces in question, 
and to communicate to them such our opinion and the authorities 
■whereon it is founded. And the Agent for New York having signi- 
fied to us that he submits the settlement of the said boundary as a 
matter entirely in your M ij'tys determination, and the Agent for 
the Massachusetts Bay having acquainted us that ho, on behalf of 
his constituents, acquiesces in the above-described line. We there- 
fore beg leave humbly to propose to your Majesty that you would be 
graciously pleased, by your order in Council, to establish the line 
hereinbefore describsd as a final boundary of property and Jurisdic- 
tion between the provinces of N. York and the Massachusetts Bay." 

This decision, however, did not meet the approval of the 
governor and council of New York, who expressed their 
dis.satisfaction, and asked for certain alterations. Their 
request was duly considered, but being objected to by the 
agent of the Massachusetts government,' was definitely and 
finally denied in a communication by the Lords of Trade 
to Governor De Lancey, dated Dec. 9, 1757 ; and a royal 
order in council afterwards established the line as deter- 
mined on by the Lords, and nearly the same as at present 

But even the king's decision and the order in council did 
not prove to be a final settlement of the boundary, though 
it was tacitly accepted by the two provinces as to jurisdic- 
tional conflicts between them. It was not until many years 
after that the line was established. In the spring of 1773, 
John Watts, William Smith, and Robert R. Livingston, 
commissioners on the part of New York, and John Han- 
cock, Joseph Hawley, and William Brattle, commissioners 
for Massachusetts, met at Hartford, where, on the 18th of 
May, they easily and amicably agreed on a partition line of 
jurisdiction, and this agreement received the approval of 
the governors of the two States. The line as agreed on 
was to commence at the northwest corner of " the oblong," 
and to run thence north 21° 10' 30" east to the north 
line of Massachusetts ; this eastern deflection being given 
to conform to the course of the Hudson river, from which 
it was intended to make the line distant, as nearly as might 
be, a distance of twenty miles at all points. 

But the line, though agreed on, was not then run. Great 
trouble appears to have arisen in the execution of the work, 
on account of the baflling variation of the needle among 
the ore-beds of the Taghkanics, — -and perhaps from other 
causes, — and it was not until 1787 that the work was ac- 
complished. In that year Thomas Hutchins, the national 
geographer-general, David Rittenhouse, and the Rev. Dr. 
John Ewing, of Philadelphia, three gentlemen whom 
Congress had, at the request of the two States, appointed 
as commissioners for the purpose, succeeded, after great 
difiiculty experienced from the capricious variation of the 
needle, in running and establishing the boundary between 

New York and Ma.ssachusetts ; the line being substantially 
the same as that ordered by George the Second, thirty 
years before, and identical with the present boundary, ex- 
cepting the slight difference caused by the cession of Boston 
Corner to New York in 1855. 

As has been before mentioned, the royal order in council 
of 1757, although it did not then close the question of 
boundary, yet virtually put an end to conflicts of jurisdic- 
tion between the provinces. And for a period of five years 
from the riots and arrests of 1757 there seems also to have 
been a season of quiet and freedom from outrage and law- 
lessness upon the manors. But in 1762 the clouds again 
gathered, and the malcontents, under lead of Josiah Loomis 
and others, again took the war-path. During this state of 
affairs Mr. Livingston wrote (March 22, 1762) to Gov- 
ernor Golden, " These Rioters have given me no trouble 
since the Proclamation issued in 1757, but now they intend 
to make their last bold push, which I think will be pre- 
vented by another proclamation coming out in time." The 
governor acted on the suggestion, and nine days later issued 
his proclamation, directed particularly against Josiah Loo- 
mis and Robert Miller, " who, in contempt of said Procla- 
mation [that of 1757], have lately riotously assembled 
within the said Manor, and do now threaten to dispossess 
the Tenants of the said Robert Livingston, and to seat and 
maintain themselves therein by Force and Violence;" and 
he ordered and directed the sheriff' to suppress all unlawful 
and riotous gatherings at all hazards, and with the whole 
force of the county. This prompt action seems to have had 
the desired effect, and four years more of comparative quiet 

But again, in 1766, the disturbances broke out with more 
violence than ever, this time under the leadership of Robert 
Noble, who assembled his band in such numbers that they 
were able to and did attack and defeat a strong posse under 
command of the sheriff" of Albany while in performance of 
his duty. This outbreak caused the loss of several lives, 
and was immediately followed by a proclamation ordering 
the most stringent measures, and the apprehension of 
Robert Noble. In an attempt to eff'ect the arrest of Noble 
the sheriff and his posse attacked the fortified house of 
Noble (in the present town of Hillsdale), but without being 
able to effect their object, and Noble escaped to Massachu- 
setts. He and Josiah Loomis had been principal ring- 
leaders in the anti-rent insurrection from the time of it.s 
first outbreak, but after this time Noble was no more heard 
of as an insurgent leader on the New York side of the line. 
His absence, however, had not the eff'ect to intimidate or 
discourage the rioters. On the contrary, their demonstra- 
tions of violence increased to such a degree that the sheriff 
and magistrates, realizing that the civil power of the county 
was entirely unequal to the exigency, notified Governor 
Sloore of the fact, and invoked the assistance of the military 
arm. The governor responded by ordering detachments of 
the Forty-sixth Royal Infantry to proceed to the neighbor- 
hood of the disorders to sui)port the sheriff' and enforce the 

The following, a copy of a letter written by Mr. Living- 
ston at that time, has reference to the state of affairs then 
existing on the two manors : 


" Manoh Livingston, 9th July, 1766. 
" Sin,— This minute arrived here Cnjit. Claike of the 46tb, with 120 
of His Majesty's Troops, in order to assist the magistrates and sheriff 
of the county to apjirehend the Rioters in this County. And as it will 
be necessary yourself, the Sheriff, and Coll. Van Ktnslaer should be 
here, I desire you immediately (o send an E.Npress for them, that we 
may go on the service to-morrow. It would be agreeable to me if 
Ciipt. Schuyler® could come along. As it will be in our power to quell 
this dangerous Riot and Establish our authority in our respective 
manors, no time must be lost, nor no expense thought too much. In 
hopes of your speedy Complyance, I remain, 

nost Humble 

S Ji 

Renslaeii, Esq., 

■' Claverack.' 

The presence of the military had the desired effect. The 
rioters seem to have had as wholesome a dread of bayonets 
as was displayed by their descendants on the same ground 
seventy-eight years later. The spirit of insurrection was 
immediately and (for the time) completely quelled. 

On the 24th of February, 17C7, Gov. Moore wrote to 
the Earl of Shelburne in reference to this auti-rent outbreak 
and its suppression as follows : 

"There has been no dispute in the present case between the Prov- 
inces in regard to any Tcrrilori:U Jurisdiction, but the whole has 
taken its rise from a Scene of Litigation among private Persons. Sev- 
eral Inhabitants of the Mas.^inljiiM tl,-, , nr,,uia-ia l.y their country- 
men (as they acknowledge in xjiuc <il tlnii ;i[]i>i;i\ its). j)asscd over 
the line of Division, and scatiii- tn tlii' Westward of it, on 
the Lands belonging to Mr. Kcuslaer, and acknowledged on all bauds 
to be within this Province, began Settlements there without invitation 
from him, or even permission first obtained. Mr. Renslaer, unwil- 
ling to dispossess them, offered them Leases on the same Terms which 
he had granted to his Tenants, their near neighbors!, which were re- 
fused; and notwithstanding they could not shew any lligbt in them- 
selves to the Lands, refused to acknowledge any in Mr. Renslaer, who 
upon such behavior endeavored to remove tlieni l.y a due Course of 
Law. But as it never was the intenliun of these Pcjile to s ubmitt their 
Title to a legal examination, every opi)ositiiin was made to the sheriff 
when he attempted to do his duty, and matters were carried to such 
a length that they assembled armed in a great body and attacked and 
defeated him in the Execution of his office, altho' supported by the 
Posse of the County, and some lives were lost on both sides. After an 
action in justification of which so little could be said, many of the 
Delinquents thought proper to quitt this Province immediately, and 
sheltered themselves under the Protection of the Neighboring Govern- 
ments of Massachusetts and Connecticut ; . . . but none of them 
were ever secured, although they ajipeared publickly in the Provinces 
of the Massachusetts and Connecticut, neither have any of those com- 
plainants thought proper to return to their Homes and submit their 
Cause to be decided by the Laws of their Country. ... It was with 
great concern I saw the progress of these disturbances, but was still 
in hopes that the civil Power alone would be able to prevail, and it 
was at the earnest request of the Magistrates of both those countiesf 
that the Troops were sent to their assistance. ... I should have been 
guilty of a neglect of my Duty had I refused the aid required, es- 
pecially in the County of Albany, where the rebels had set the civil 
Power at Defiance, and had defeated the Sheriff at the head of the 
Posse of the County." 

After their suppression, in 17G6, the anti-rent partisans 
did not again rally (as such) for a period of twenty-five 
years. During the Revolution many scenes of violence 
were enacted within the limits of the county, but these 
had (or were supposed to have) their origin in party feel- 

* Afterwards Major-General Philip Schuyler, of Revolutionary 

t Referring to disturbances which occurred also about the same 
time in Dutchess county, requiring the assistance of the military to 
quell. A part of the Twenty-eighth Infiintry was sent to that county. 

ing and in the hatred that existed between patriots and 
Tories, though doubtless the state of affairs then existing 
was, in many cases, made an excuse for the wreaking of 
private revenge. After the war, although robbery and 
other lawless actsj were frequent enough, the old anti-rent 
spirit does not seem to have been actively manifested until 
about 1790, when combinations were again formed to 
wrest from the Livingston and Van Renssehier proprietors 
portions of their lands. In 1791 these combinations took 
the form of armed resistance to the execution of the laws, 
and resulted in the shooting of the sheriff of the county, 
Cornelius Hogeboom, E.sq., while engaged in the perform- 
ance of his duty. 

Few occurrences in the history of Columbia county have 
ever moved the feelings and sympathies of its inhabitants 
more deeply than this atrocious murder of Sheriff Hoge- 
boom The following account of the deplorable event ap- 
peared in the Albany Gazette of Oct. 31, 1791, being 
communicated to that journal by a gentleman of Kinder- 
hook : 

" Cornelius Hogeboom, Esq., sheriff of the county of 
Columbia, was shot on his horse on Saturday, the 22d inst., 
at a place called Nobletown, in the town of Hillsdale, and 
on Monday his remains, attended by an uncommon number 
of respectable inhabitants from different parts of the county, 
were deposited in the family burial-place at Squampommock, 
where they testified an unfeigned sorrow for the loss of so 
valuable a citizen. 

" Mr. Hogeboom had filled the office of sheriff for up- 
wards of two years ; and it was at a very distressing period 
that he entered on the duties of this office, whereby his 
unexampled benevolence to the distressed was fully evinced, 
at the same time that a just degree of promptitude was 
paid to the interests of his employers. Few men were 
capable of giving so universal satisfaction. He was a real 
patriot and a true friend. 

" The murder of Sheriff Hogeboom is of such a barba- 
rous and inhuman nature, while at the same time it is so 
interesting, that we shall give to the public a short and 
circumstantial account of the horrid deed. A few days 
previous to the murder one of the sheriff's deputies was to 
have held a vendue at Nobletown by virtue of an execution 
against one Arnold, but on the day of the intended sale 
the Nobletown people assembled, and with threats deterred 
the deputy from proceeding in the vendue, who thereupon 
adjourned it to the Saturday following, informing the peo- 
ple that he should acquaint the high sheriff with what had 
happened, which he accordingly did. The sheriff attended 
on Saturday, and after waiting till near four o'clock for his 
deputy, who had the execution, and he not arriving, and a 
number of people having assembled in a riotous manner, 
he concluded to leave, and told the people that since his 
deputy had not come he would leave it to him to make such 
return as he thought best. He then, with his brother and 

X For the suppression of the numerous felonies which were c: 
mitted in this vicinity after the Revolution a company of rangers i 
organized, and fifteen hundred pounds wore raised under autho; 
of the act of May 11, 1780, to defriiy tbu expense thus incurred ; 
neither the date of the formation of the company nor the partici 
acts of outrage which caused its orgauizaliuu can be given. 


another gentleman, rode off, and when they were opposite 
the barn young Arnold fired a pistol, at which signal seven- 
teen men, painted and in Indian dress, sallied forth from 
the barn, fired and marched after them, keeping up a con- 
stant firing. Some of the balls passing between them, the 
companions of the sheriff desired him to spur his horse or 
they would all be shot ; to which he replied that he was 
vested with the law, and they should never find him a 

" Young Arnold seeing those in Indian dress fell astern, 
then mounted a horse with another fellow and rode up to 
them ; two of whom mounted the horse, and (the sheriff 
having only walked his) soon came up and dismounted, 
when one of them leveled his piece, and lodged a ball in 
the heart of the sheriff; upon which he said, ' Brother, I 
am a dead man !' fell from his horse, and expired. His 
brother then took him up in his arms and carried him into 
the house of one Crum, but supposing himself yet in immi- 
nent danger rode off. 

"Great praise is due to Captain Sloan, of the city of 
Hudson, who soon afterwards came and took care of the 
body, and at the risk of his life guarded the papers of the 
sheriff. Young Arnold went to Crum's house for the pur- 
pose (as is supposed ) of putting a period to the existence 
of the sheriff, if it had not been already done. 

" Four of the perpetrators set out the next day for Nova 
Scotia by way of New London. A reward of two hundred 
and fifty pounds is offered for apprehending them. A party 
of men are in pursuit, and, as we hear, were on Tuesday 
within fifteen miles of them. 

" Twelve are lodged in the gaol at Claverack under a strong 
guard. Jonathan Arnold is not yet taken. It is recom- 
mended to all good citizens who wish well to the support of 
good government to be active in apprehending one who 
dares to commit such an outrage against civil government 
and civil society." 

The accused persons were tried at a term of the oyer and 
terminer, held at Claverack in February, 1792, and '' after a 
long and impartial trial were acquitted." The murderer was 
never discovered. 

The widow of the victim, Mrs. Sarah Hogeboom, died 
wholly of grief, on the 16th of January, less than three 
months after her husband's nmrder. The Hudsoij Gazette 
of January 26, in noticing her death, said, " It is impos- 
sible to describe the extreme distress with which Mrs. 
Hogeboom hath been afflicted from the moment she re- 
ceived information of the inhuman murder of her husband 
until the time of her decease." This unfortunate couple 
were the grandparents of the late Judge Henry Hogeboom. 

After the tragedy of 1791, the most vigorous measures 
were employed to quell the lawless spirit which.had caused 
it, and although there were afterwards occasional instances 
of resistance to the payment of manorial rents, yet for 
more than half a century there occurred in Columbia 
county no demonstration of sufficient magnitude to be 
noticed as an anti-rent revolt. 

The spirit of anti-rentism, however, was not dead, but 
only sleeping. The farmer-tenants upon the manors not 
only in Columbia, but in the counties of Albany, Greene, 
Ulster, Delaware, Schoharie, Herkimer, Montgomery, Ot- 

sego, Oneida, and Rensselaer, at last began to regard their 
condition as unendurable, and as being little, if any, better 
than that of vassals. They argued that they and their 
ancestors had already paid in rents far more than the value 
of the lands, even including the buildings and improve- 
ments which themselves (and not the landlords) liad put 
upon them, and that the degrading and perpetual nature 
of the tenure wa.s inconsistent not only with the prin- 
ciples of republican government, but with all proper feel- 
ings of self-respect. They asked upon what principle it 
was that their fathers left the oppressive, aristoeratic;iI gov- 
ernments of the Old World, to find here, in the New, and 
upon the banks of Hudson river, a system of land-tenure 
which was overthrown in England so long ago as the year 
1290, and in France by the Revolution of 1787? Could 
they believe that such things were right or legal ? And 
should they by their submission allow them to become per- 
manent? These theories, advanced by their leaders and 
industriously circulated through the public prints, had the 
natural effect to reawaken the old feeling of resistance to 
what they considered the oppressive exactions of their land- 
lords, and it was not long before they began to consult to- 
gether on plans to throw off the burden. About 1840 
associations began to be formed, and delegates were ap- 
pointed, who met for deliberation on ways and means by 
which to accomplish their ends. " Ere long the people be- 
came more and more engaged and excited, and the anti-rent 
feeling manifested itself in open resistance to the service of 
legal process for the collection of manorial rents. A secret 
organization was devised, extending through several coun- 
ties, by which bands of men were formed, and pledged upon 
summons to appear disguised and armed, and ready to pro- 
tect the persons of tenants from arrest and from the service 
of process, and to guard their property from levy and sale 
upon execution. So soon as a sheriff appeared in one of the 
disaffected towns, a troop of men collected in fantastic calico 
dresses and with faces masked, or painted to imitate Indians, 
and armed with pistols, tomahawks, guns, and cutlasses, and 
generally on horseback, gathered round him or hovered 
near, warning him away, and deterring him by threats from 
performing his duty." * 

It was not in Columbia, but in Rensselaer, Delaware, and 
some of the other counties, that this state of affairs origi- 
nated. The first overt act of lawlessness occurred in Rens- 
selaer, in the town of Grafton, where a body of anti-renters, 
disguised as Indians, met upon the highway a man named 
Smith, who was a known and violent opponent of their 
plans. AVith him they entered into a violent altercation, 
which resulted in his being instantly killed by a pistol-shot, 
fired by one of their number. It was, however, alleged by 
them that Smith made the first attack, with an axe ; but 
whatever the facts may have been, the person who fired the 
shot was never discovered, although more than two hundred 
persons were summoned, and testified in a legal investigation 
of the circumstances of the homicide. 

It was not long before the spirit of revolt had spread to 
Columbia county. The first demonstration of force in re- 
sistance to the execution of the laws in this county, was 

New American Cjclopsdia. 


made Dec. 12, 1844, when the sheriff, Hon. Henry C. 
Miller, attempted to serve process against the property of 
an anti-renter in the town of Copake. Proceeding with- 
out a posse (except a single companion) towards the place 
of his destination, he at length encountered the outlying 
pickets of the enemy, but was by them allowed to pass on. 
Arriving at the place where the process was to be served, 
he was surprised by a show of force which be had not an- 
ticipated. There was a body of about three hundred men 
disguised as Indians, under command of the chief, " Big 
Thunder," and besides these there was a gathering of more 
than a thousand people, undisguised, and present only as 
spectators of the scene of violence which they evidently 
expected, for they had, undoubtedly, supposed that the 
sheriff would appear with a strong posse, and prepared to 
use force in the performance of his duty. Upon his ap- 
pearance the great chief, " Big Thunder" (whose real name 
was Smith A. Boughton), and six other sachems of the 
tribe, conducted him to the public-house of the place, where, 
after informing him that under no circumstances would he 
be permitted to execute his mission, and that his life would 
be endangered by a persistent attempt to do so, they suc- 
ceeded, by intimidation with firearms, in dispossessing him 
of his papers, which they burned in public, amid the war- 
whoops of the braves and the plaudits of the spectators. 
The sheriff was then permitted to depart in peace, and to 
return to his home at Hud.son, where his report of the 
outrage was received by the citizens with feelings and ex- 
periences of the deepest indignation. 

It was advertised that, on the 18th of December, the 
chief " Big Thunder" would attend at Smoky Hollow, in the 
town of Claverack. there to address the people — particularly 
the Van Rensselaer tenants — on the (then) paramount 
question of the day. At the time appointed a very large 
audience had gathered there, some out of sympathy with 
the principles set forth, and some from motives of mere 
curiosity. Pursuant to the announcement the orator ap- 
peared supported by a strong body-guard in costume. It 
is said that this was the most brilliant — as it was destined 
to be the last — of his days of triumph. During the orgies 
of the day, a youth, named W. H. Rifenburgh, a spectator 
qf the performances, was killed by a pistol-shot, alleged to 
have been accidentally fired. When intelligence of this 
occurrence reached Hudson, it was at once decided that 
" Big Thunder" should be arrested, and upon this sheriff 
Miller set out for the seene of the tragedy, accompanied 
by Mr. Joseph D. Monell. When they reached Smoky 
Hollow it was late in the day, and the meeting had already 
dissolved ; but " Big Thunder" was found in a back room 
at the public-house, divested of his plumes and war-paint, 
and engaged in quiet conversation. He was arrested at 
once and without resistance, but upon reaching the open 
air, where he was surrounded by a number of his men, he 
drew a pistol and made a desperate attempt to escape, but 
was at last overpowered and bound. 

The sheriff also captured the chief " Little Thunder" 
(whose real name was Mortimer C. Belding), and a little 
later he had delivered both the chiefs safe in the jail at 
Hudson. Soon after, deputy-sheriff Thomas Sedgwick 
effected the arrest of two other leaders, named Rey- 

nolds and W^alter Hutchins. The last named was other- 
wise known as the " White Chief," and had frequently and 
freely uttered the threat that he would never be taken 
alive ; but upon being found secreted in a garret, he was 
secured without so much as a show of resistance. 

When " Big" and " Little Thunder" arrived at Hudson in 
the custody of the sheriff, a vast and shouting crowd followed 
them to the jail, and the whole city was jubilant ; but when 
it was learned that wellnigh a thousand men in the east 
part of the county had sworn to rescue the prisoners and 
burn the city the rejoicings were succeeded by unmistakable 
panic, and the citizens were not in the least reassured by 
the proclamation of Mayor Curtiss, in which he recalled to 
mind the fact " that no policy of insurance will cover losses 
by fire when caused by invasion, insurrection, or civil 

It was decided that the citizens should be organized for 
the security and defense of the city, and the plan and details 
of such organization were placed in the hands of a com- 
mittee, which might properly have been called the Com- 
mittee of Public Safety, consisting of Colonel Charles 
Darling, Captain E. P. Cowles, Killian Miller, Rufus Reed, 
and Warren Rockwell. The first measure adopted was the 
establishment of a patrol of citizens, twenty from each 
ward, to be constantly on duty during the hours of night. 
Then Captain Cowles' military company, the Hudson Light 
Guard, were ordered to hold themselves in readiness, 
equipped and ammunitioned for instant service, and to 
muster at the court-house with the least possible delay 
upon the sounding of certain alarm-strokes on the bell of 
the Presbyterian church. Four pieces of artillery were 
placed in charge of a company of one hundred men, en- 
rolled from the citizens, and under command of Captain 
Henry Whiting, and videttes were posted well out upon 
the roads leading into the city from the eastward. 

These were but the beginning of the precautionary meas- 
ures. A request was made to the State authorities to fur- 
nish five hundred stand of arms, with proper ammunition, 
which was promptly responded to by the governor, and the 
arms furnished. A battalion of five hundred volunteers 
was formed, called the " Law and Order Association," to 
act as " minute-men," to be always ready and subject to the 
call of the sheriff at all times. This body consisted of four 
companies, commanded by Captains Thomas P. Newbcry, 
Ichabod Rogers, Hiram Gage, and Warren Rockwell, and 
the battalion was under command of Colonel Darling. 

Assistance was also asked and received from abroad. 
Colonel Darling went to Catskill, told the people there of 
the danger which menaced Hudson, and asked for volun- 
teers to return with him. A large number of men re- 
sponded, and remained in Hudson over Saturday night, 
Sunday, and Sunday night, returning to Catskill on Mon- 
day. A request was made by the common council for the 
Albany Burgesses' corps to lend their assistance, to which 
the corps responded by reporting to the mayor of Hudson 
for duty, to remain until the exigency should have passed. 
Afterwards, upon a still further request for troops. Governor 
Bouck sent hither the Emmet Guards, Van Rensselaer 
Guards, Washington Riflemen, Albany Republican Artillery, 
and a company of cavalry from New York, under command 


of Captain Krack. This comparatively large force crowded 
the available accommodations of Hudson, and many were 
quartered on the boats, which then lay winter-bound at the 
wharves. At the end of about one month, during which 
time the soldiery had given material aid to the sheriff in 
making the desired arrests of implicated persons, the dan- 
ger was believed to have passed, and the troops returned to 
their homes, carrying with them the thanks and gratitude 
of the people of the city. 

There are those among the citizens of Hudson who, 
looking back to that time, freely express the belief that the 
magnitude of the power invoked was largely dispropor- 
tionate to the danger which menaced, but there were proba- 
bly few who then entertained that view of the case. 

The prisoner Boughton, for whose safe-keeping the city 
had been placed in a state of siege, was brought to trial 
before Judge Parker at the March term of court, and was 
defended by Ambrose L. Jordan and James Storm. At- 
torney-General John Van Buren was assisted by Hon. The- 
odore Miller in the prosecution. The trial continued for 
two weeks, and ended in a disagreement of the jury. In 
the following September he was again tried before Judge 
John W. Edmonds, and was found guilty. When asked 
the usual question why sentence should not be passed upon 
him, he simply replied that he had done nothing which he 
considered a crime, but that the court had seen fit to con- 
vict him, and he must submit to its decision. He was then 
sentenced to a life imprisonment in the Clinton State prison. 
Several of the other leaders were convicted and sentenced 
for different terms, but " Little Thunder" was never brought 
to trial. 

The conviction of these men quelled forever all attempts 
by anti-rent partisans to resist the execution of the laws 
in Columbia county ; not that a single anti-renter had 
changed in his hatred to the manorial system, or was any 
less than before inclined to resist what he deemed its in- 
tolerable wrong and oppression, but that it was now fully 
realized that resistance to constituted authority was worse 
than useless, and that what was to be done must be accom- 
plished by the wielding of political power at the ballot-box. 

By pursuing this course the anti-rent party elected their 
governor (Young) in 1846, and one of his first official acts 
was to pardon from the State prison the so-called anti-rent 
convicts, including " Big Thunder" and all others who had 
been sentenced from Columbia. 

The final triumph of the anti-renters came in the year 
1852, in the decision of the court of appeals in the test- 
case of De Peystcr vs. Michael. De Peyster occupied the 
position of proprietor by reason of purchase of Van Rens- 
selaer's interest in some lands in Columbia county, from 
which lands it was sought to eject Michael foe non-perform- 
ance of certain manorial conditions. The counsel for the 
proprietor was the Hon. Josiah Sutherland (now of New 
York), who argued the case most ably for his client. 

Without entering at length upon the merits of the case, 
it is sufficient to say that the court was unanimous in its 
decision in favor of the defendant, and that Judge Suther- 
land himself has never hesitated to declare that the decision 
in the De Peyster case was a legitimate close to the anti- 
rent controversy in favor of the anti-renters. 



Propei-l,.v in Men and Wunien— I'uMtics an.l Parties in the County. 

The first election by the people in what is now the State 
of New York was that of the "Twelve Men," in 1641, 
held under the Dutch rule. The first election under the 
English was that of the Assembly of 1665, for the pro- 
mulgation of the " Duke's Laws." The first election under 
the authority of the people themselves was that one held 
in March, 1775, to elect deputies to the provincial conven- 
tion, which met in New York, the 20th of April following, 
to choose delegates to the Continental Congress, which assem- 
bled at Philadelphia, on May 10, 1775. Down to the 
adoption of the State constitution in 1777, elections were 
held before the sheriffs by a poll or viva voce vote. The 
constitution provided for the ballot system to be tried, after 
the war then waging liad ceased, as an " experiment," guard- 
ing the same, however, with a provision that " if the ex- 
periment proved unsatisfactory, the former method," or some 
other, should be returned to. In pursuance of this pro- 
vision, a law was passed March 27, 1778, authorizing the 
use of the ballot in elections for governor and lieutenant- 
governor, but retaining the viva voce system for members of 
the Legislature ; but in 1787, February 3, the restriction 
was done away, and the ballot system introduced generally. 
The inspector system was introduced at this time (1787), 
and, with some changes, still obtains. Local boards in 
each election district at first canvassed the returns; the 
result was recorded by the town clerk, who forwarded the 
same to the county clerk, who recorded it in his office and 
forwarded it to the secretary of state, who also recorded it, 
when the votes were canvassed by a State board, consisting 
of the secretary of state, comptroller, and treasurer, on or 
before the 8th of June, and who published the result. By 
the act of 1787, general elections were held on the last 
Tuesday in April, and might be held five days. By the 
act of April 17, 1822, a board of county canvassers was 
instituted, consisting of one inspector of elections from each 
town, and the attorney-general and surveyor-general were 
added to the State canvassers. The general election day 
was changed to the first Monday in November, and could 
be held by adjournment from place to place in each town 
or ward for three days. 

In 1842, the date of holding general elections was 
changed to the Tuesday succeeding the first Monday in 
November, and the balloting confined to one day. By this 
last act the supervisors of the respective counties were 
constituted the boards of county canvassers, which system 
is in vogue at the present time. 

Under the Assembly of 1091, electors were required to 
be residents of the electoral district at least three months 
prior to the issue of the writ, and to be possessed of a free- 
hold worth forty pounds. " Freemen" of the corporations 
paying a rental of forty shillings per annum were also ad- 
mitted to the right of suffrage. Catholics were not allowed 
to vote nor to be elected, and Quakers and Moravians were 
at first virtually disfranchised, and remained so until they 


were allowed to aiErm. Under the first constitution electors 
were required to have a residence of six months, and such 
as were freeholders of estates of twenty pounds in the 
county, or paid a rental of forty shillings per annum, and 
actually paid taxes, could vote for representatives to the 
Legislature. Freemen of New York and Albany, also, 
were voters for these and inferior officials without the 
proper qualifications ; but to cast a ballot for governor, 
lieutenant-governor, and senators required the possession 
of a freehold worth one hundred pounds over and above 
all debts discharged thereon. In 1811 these values were 
changed to corresponding sums in the Federal currency, 
viz., two hundred and fifty dollars, fifty dollars, and five 
dollars. No discrimination was made against blacks and 
mulattoes, except that they were required to produce au- 
thenticated certificates of freemen. The constitution of 
1821 extended the elective franchise to every male citizen 
of the age of twenty-one years, being a resident of the State 
one year preceding any election, and of the town or county 
where he offered to vote six months, provided he had paid 
taxes or was exempt from taxation, or had performed mili- 
tary duty, or was a fireman ; and also to every such citizen 
being a resident of the State three years, and of the county 
one year, who had performed highway labor, or paid an 
equivalent therefor during the year. Colored persons were 
not voters unless possessed of a freehold of two hundred and 
fifty dollars value, were residents of the State three years, 
and had paid taxes on the full value of their estates above 
incumbrances thereon. In 1826, the elective franchise was 
made free to all white male citizens, without property quali- 
fications of any kind ; that qmilification, however, was re- 
tained for colored citizens. In 1845, the property (jualifi- 
cation required for the holding of office under the consti- 
tutions of the State up to that date was abrogated by the 
people. In 1846, and again in 1860, propositions for 
equal suffrage to colored persons were rejected by the people 
by heavy majorities. By the amendment to the constitu- 
tion adopted by the people Nov. 3, 1874, " Every male 
citizen of the age of twenty-one years, who shall have been 
a citizen for ten days, and an inhabitant of the State one 
year next preceding an election, and for the last four 
months a resident of the county, and for the last thirty 
days a resident in the election district in which he may 
offer his vote," is entitled to vote at such election. Elective 
officers under the first constitution were limited to the gov- 
ernor, lieutenant-governor, senators, and assemblymen ; and 
the town officers, loan officers, county treasurers, and clerks 
of supervisors were appointed as the Legi-slature provided. 
AH other civil and military officers were to be appointed 
by the council of appointment, unless otherwise designated 
in the constitution. Under the second constitution, the 
list of elective officers was greatly extended, and the power 
of appointment of those not elective conferred on the gov- 
ernor. In 1846, two hundred and eighty-nine officers 
were thus appointed. The list of appointive officers is 
very limited at the present time. 


The act for the manumission of slaves in the State of 
New York was passed in 1788, but previous to that time 

the Quakers had in several instances freed their servants. In 
1799 the act for the gradual abolition of slavery in the 
State was passed. 

The records of the county show bills of sales and deeds 
of manumission of slaves, a few of which we here give : 

On the 23d day of December, 1786, Abraham Vosburgh 
sold to Barent Vander Poel a negro man named " Piet" 
for seventy pounds New York currency. The grantor war- 
ranted his title in Piet good, and would defend the same 
against all comers : " To have and to hold to the said Van- 
der Poel, his heirs and assigns, the said Piet/oreye?-." 

Cornelius Sharp and wife gave a deed of manumission to 
Moses Frayer and wife and child, and by will devi-sed to 
their former slaves all of their property, to take effect on the 
death of both Sharp and his wife. 

A bill of sale disposes of " one negro girl 4 years old, a 
heifer, a loom, and 40 plank" for fifteen pounds. 

Deeds of manumission of slaves were predicated on their 
ability to support themselves, proof of the same to be made 
to the satisfaction of the overseers of the poor of the town 
where they resided. 

Further mention of this subject will be found in the his- 
tories of several of the towns of the county. 

Political parties, in the sense in which the term is now 
understood, cannot be said to have had any existence prior 
to the Revolution. During that struggle there were found 
everywhere (and Columbia county formed no exception to 
the rule) many who, from interest or a sense of duty, main- 
tained their attachment to the crown, and upon these the 
name of Tory was bestowed as a term of opprobrium by 
their patriotic opponents, the Whigs ; but these terms as 
then used did not apply to or indicate organized parties. 
At the close of the war, however, political lines began to be 
drawn, and we find that soon after three parties had devel- 
oped themselves, of whom, and of their composition. Chan- 
cellor Livingston, in a letter written in January, 1784, spoke 
as follows : " Our parties are, first, the Tories, who still hope 
for power, under the idea that the remembrance of the past 
should be lost, though they daily keep it up by their 
avowed attachment to Great Britain. Secondly, the violent 
Whigs, who are for expelling the Tories from the State, in 
hopes by that means to preserve the power in their own 
hands. The third are those who wish to suppress all vio- 
lence, t?o soften the rigor of the laws against the royalists, 
and not to banish them from that social intercourse which 
may by degrees obliterate the remembrance of past mis- 
deeds, but who at the same time are not willing to shock 
the feelings of the virtuous citizens that have at every ex- 
pense and hazard fulfilled their duty, by at once destroying 
all distinction between them and the royalists, and giving 
the reins into the hands of the latter, but who at the same 
time wish that this distinction should rather be found in 
the sentiments of the people than marked out by the 

The league between the States, created by the adoption 
of the articles of confederation, in 1777, had been entered 
into in time of public peril, as a means of mutual defense, 
and so long as the safety of the States remained in jeopardy 


it sei-ved the purpose of its creation. It was really a tem- 
porary offensive and defensive alliance, and had never been 
expected to become permanent as a plan and basis of gov- 
ernment. In fact, it had none of the attributes of a gov- 
ernment, for the Congress, as con.stituted under those 
articles, was little more than a convention of delegates from 
the- several States, called together to deliberate and agree 
on public measures to be recommended by them to their 
respective Legislatures for adoption. 

A short experience after the return of peace was suf- 
ficient to produce a universal conviction of the inadequacy 
of this method, and the necessity for establishing a new 
plan of government ; but opinions differed widely on the 
question of what that plan should be: one side favoring 
the mere revision of the old articles of confederation, while 
the other demanded the adoption of a new constitution at 
the basis of a permanent and more consolidated govern- 
ment. The advocates of the constitutional plan became 
known as Federalists, their opponents Anti-Federalists; 
and th&se were, in fact, the first of the political parties of 
the United States. 

In February, 1787, Congress resolved that it was expe- 
dient that on the second Monday of May following a con- 
vention of delegates from the several States should be held 
at Philadelphia, for the purpose " of revising the articles of 
confederation, and of reporting to Congress and to the sev- 
eral Legislatures such alterations and provisions as should, 
when agreed to in Congi-ess and confirmed by the States, 
be adequate to the exigencies of government and the pres- 
ervation of the Union." 

At the time and place appointed the national conven- 
tion assembled for deliberation upon the different plans, of 
which there were pioposed, first, the revision of the old 
articles of confederation, of which Robert Yates and John 
Lansing, of the New York delegation, were the uncom- 
promising advocates; second, the adoption of a constitution 
establishing a strong and purely national government, in 
which plan Alexander Hamilton, also of the New York 
delegation, was the recognized leader ; and, third, the " Vir- 
ginia plan," offered by Mr. Randolph, of Virginia, and 
supposed to have been drawn by Mr. Madison, intended to 
represent the people in their numerical strength, as well as 
the States in their sovereign capacity; this being the one 
finally agreed on by the convention and recommended by 
them to the States for their adoption. 

In this State the opposition to the new constitution was 
very strong and determined. A resolution was passed in 
both branches of the Legislature for the call of a State con- 
vention in pursuance of the recommendation of Congress, 
and in the subsequent election of delegates to that conven- 
tion the sole question considered was whether the candi- 
dates were for or against the adoption of the constitution. 
Columbia county elected the opposition, or Anti-Federalists, 
Messrs. Matthew Adgate, John Bay, and Peter Van Ness. 

The convention met at Poughkeepsie, and organized June 
17, 1788, by the appointment of Governor George Clinton 
as president. The body was largely Anti-Federal. Wil- 
liam Jay, in his " Life of John Jay," states that out of the 
total of fifty-seven delegates, forty-six were Anti- Federalists. 
Hammond, in his " History of Political Parties," thinks Jay 

was mistaken, and gives the whole number as sixty-seven. 
Chancellor Livingston, as leader of the adoptionists, opened 
the debate. It continued for three weeks, and would prob- 
ably have ended in rejection, or at least conditional adoption 
of the constitution, but, in the midst of the deliberations, 
news arrived of its ratification by New Hampshire, which, 
as it completed the requisite number of nine States, left the 
question before the convention, not whether they preferred 
the old articles to the new constitution, but whether they 
would remain in the Union or secede. In this stiite of 
affairs a portion of the Anti- Federalists (advised, as was 
supposed, by Governor Clinton) yielded to the necessity, 
and on the 26th of July it was, by a vote of thirty to 
twenty-seven,* " Resolved, That the constitution be ratified, 
ill full confidence that the amendments proposed hij this 
convention will he adopted." And then, after all the 
members had subscribed to a circular letter to the other 
States, requesting their co-operation in an effort to obtain 
the adoption of the proposed amendments annexed to their 
ratificatiofl, the convention adjourned sine die. 

The election in 1789 was warmly contested, and gen- 
erally resulted in the success of the Federalists.f Ham- 
mond, in liis " History of Political Parties," says such was 
the result in Columbia ; nevertheless, we find that Matthew 
Adgate and John Bay, two of the stanch Anti-Federal 
opponents of the constitution in the convention of the pre- 
vious year, were now elected to the Assembly. Peter Van 
Ness, who also as a delegate had been unwavering in his 
opposition, was elected by the House a member of the 
council of appointment. The election in 1790 indicated no 
especial change of political opinions among the people. 

In 1791 (Feb. 7) a division of senatorial districts was 
made, in which Columbia, Rensselaer, Washington, and 
Clinton formed the eastern district. The senators elected 
in this district in that year were Peter Van Ness, John 
Williams, Edward Savage, Alexander Webster, and William 
Powers, the last named being of Columbia county. 

The political sentiment of the county was now inclining 
towards Federalism, and so continued for a number of years. 
In 1794, Ambrose Spencer was elected to the Assembly, 
and in 1796 he was elected senator by the Federalists. 

Peter Silvester (Federalist) was elected to the Senate in 
1797. In the four following years the county favored the 
Federalists, though the Republicans^ had been confident 
of success in 1799. In 1800 the middle district (of which 
Columbia was made a part in 1796) elected Republican 
senators, viz.-, Daniel Van Ness, John C. Hogeboom, Solo- 
mon Sutherland, Jacobus S. Bruyn, and James W. Wilkin, 
though the county itself gave a majority against them. 
The number of votes cast for Hogeboom was eight hun- 
dred and forty-sLx ; for Van Ness, eight hundred and fifty ; 

'^ The Columbia county delegation remained steadfast, and o]»posed 
the ratification in the final vote. 

t Governor Clinton was, however, re-elected bv a majority of four 
hundred and twenty-nine votes. Hammond says, "That Governor 
Clinton succeeded in this election is a high evidence of his personal 
popularity. His friends around him were slain, but he himself walked 
off the field of battle in triumph." 

j Thi' Anti-Federalists had now become more generally known as 
Republicans, and were often known as Democrats. 



for Sutherland, eight hundred and eighty-eight ; for Bruyn, 
eight hundred and sixty; and for Wilicin, eiglit hundred 
and seventy-nine. The elected ticket received an average 
plurality of thirty-one in the city of Hudson, but in the 
county the opposing ticket received an average plurality of 
one hundred and fifty-six. 

At the election held in that year for representative in 
Congress, John Bird received in the county ten hundred 
and forty-five votes, against eighteen hundred and sixty-six 
given for Henry W. Livingston. The three towns then 
embraced within the Livingston manor voted as follows : 
Clermont, for Livingston, one hundred; for Bird, none; 
Germantown,* Livingston, forty-two ; Bird, none ; the town 
of Livingston, for H. W. Livingston, five hundred and 
forty ; for Bird, twenty-seven ; showing either a remarkable 
unanimity of political opinion, or a no less remarkable 
personal popularity enjoyed by Mr. Livingston among the 
people of his own section. 

In this year Columbia's favorite, the gifted Elisha Wil- 
liams, was first elected a member of the Assembly. In the 
gubernatorial election of 1801 the county vote for the 
successful candidate. Governor George Clinton, was eleven 
hundred and twenty-six, and for his defeated opponent, 
Stephen Van Rensselaer, ten hundred and thirty-five. 

In the election for members of Assembly in 1802, Samuel 
Edmonds received sixteen hundred and seventy-four votes; 
Aaron Kellogg, fifteen hundred and ninety-six ; Moncricf 
Livingston, fifteen hundred and ninety-eight; and Peter 
Silvester, sixteen hundred and seventy-two votes ; and these 
were elected by an average plurality of one hundred and 
twenty-four over the opposing candidates. 

In 1801, Elisha Jenkins, of Hudson, was made comp- 
troller. He had formerly been known as a leading Feder- 
alist in the county, but had transferred his allegiance to the 
Republicans, in 1798, with Ambrose Spencer, to whom it 
was said he owed this appointment. " It is not derogatory 
to Mr. Jenkins," says Hammond, " to say that he was far 
inferior to the person (John V. Henry) who was removed 
in order to make a place for him." 

Mr. Spencer was appointed attorney-general of the State 
in 1802. He was a leader and a power in politics. At 
first he was a stanch Federalist, and as such had been 
elected first to the Assembly, in 179-1, then to the Senate, 
but changed sides during the latter part of the session of 
1798. This was not long after the appointment of Mr. 

« Similar results were often shown in the vote of Germantown. In 
ISOl it gave Hezekiah L. Hosmer, for Congressman, forty-six votes, 
and his opponent none. In the same year it gave Van Rensselaer, 
for governor, si.\ty-five votes, and his antagonist, Clinton, one vote; 
the Federal Senatorial ticket in the same election receiving si.xty-five 
votes, with none opposing. In 1802 the vote of the town for repre- 
sentative in Congress stood fifty-nine for Livingston to three for John 
P. Van Ness. In 1804 it gave Burr, for governor, fifty-eight votes, 
and Morgan Lewis, for the same office, four votes; but in the next 
election of governor { 1807) Lewis received the lion's share, — seventy- 

nst ' 

solitary vote gii 

for hi! 


D. D. 

Tompkins. In 1810 the town gave Piatt, for governor, seventy-eight 
votes, against four for Tompkins ; in 1813, Tompkins held his own in 
the town, receiving four votes, to eighty-six cast for his competitor, 
Van Kcnsselaer. In 1816, Rufus King received seventy-five, and 
Tompkins' supporters had increased to nine; but in 1820 Tompkins 
received but six votes in the town, against eighty-five cast for his 
antagonist, De Witt Clinton. 

Jones as comptroller, and it was charged by the party which 
he abandoned that his course was actuated by disappoint- 
ment and resentment that his own aspirations to that ofiice 
had been ignored by Governor Jay. This charge, however, 
was denied by him, and was branded as an aspersion and a 

The maxim that " to the victors belong the spoils," often 
supposed to have been first generally adopted at a much 
later period, seems, however, to have been at the time of 
which we write quite as much the rule of political action 
as at the present day. The most violent denunciations of 
political opponents, too, were in common, and wellnigh 
universal use, degenerating not infrequently into gross per- 
sonal abuse, and even assault ; and this was true not only 
as applied to the ruder and less cultivated classes, but also 
to those occupying the very highest social and political 

In the year 1801, among the various removals of county 
officers made (probably chiefiy, if not entirely, for political 
reasons) by the council, of which Ambrose Spencer was 
then a member, was that of the clerk of Delaware county, 
Mr. Ebenezer Foote, an influential Federalist, who had been 
a senator from the middle district, and who had received 
his appointment as clerk, in 1797, from the council, of 
which Mr. Spencer was then also a member. This removal 
was much complained of as having been made on purely 
political grounds, and, in general reply to these complaints, 
a writer in the Albani/ Register, signing himself! " A Friend 
of Justice," defended the action of the council, and charged 
Foote with official short-comings as the cause of the re- 
moval. Foote replied, denying the accusation, and charging 
Mr. Spencer with being himself the author of the publica- 
tion, and with base and unworthy behavior as a member of 
the council and as a public man. Spencer retorted that he 
had not known nor heard of the article in question until he 
saw it in print; and as to the matter of Foote's removal, 
he added, " It was an act of justice to the public, inasmuch 
as, in removing you, the veriest hypocrite and the most 
malignant villain in the State was deprived of the power of 
perpetrating mischief ... If, as you insinuate, your 
interests have by your removal been materially affected, 
then, sir, like many men more honest than yourself, earn 
your bread by the sweat of your brow." Even the great 
De Witt Clinton, in speaking of a political adversary (Col- 
onel John Swartwout), stigmatized him as " a liar, a 
scomulrcl, and a villmn." f 

It was rather an unusual thing, however, even in those 
times, for gentlemen like Ambrose Spencer and De Witt 
Clinton to express their opinions in terms quite as violent 
as the above. Although the sentiments to which they 

f This choice language occasioned a duel between the parties. 
Swartwout demanded an apology or recantation; Clinton replied 
that he (Swartwout) had charged him with opposing Aaron Burr 
from base motives, and that he had used the offensive language solely 
in reference to that charge. If that were withdrawn he (Clinton) 
would recant or apologize. Swartwout would not withdraw, and so 
they fought. Clinton said he was fighting a man against whom ho 
had no personal enmity, but nevertheless he fired five shots at him ; 
and two of these having taken effect, the surgeons interposed and 
prevented further hostilities, though contrary to the expressed wish 
of Swartwout. 



gave utterance were by no means considered extreme in 
the political circles of that day, yet it was not uncommon 
for men of equal education and approximate position to 
express similar opinions in phrases less abrupt, if no less 
forcible. Of such character were the contents of a pamphlet 
published in 1802, and bearing the fictitious signature of 
Aristides. This, discarding coai-se vituperation, assailed in 
polished terms, but with unrelenting bitterness, the private 
character as well as the public actions of nearly all the 
prominent men of the Republican party. Upon Dr. Tillot- 
son, and the Livingston family in general, it .showered a 
flood of the most unsparing denunciation, as being dis- 
honest, false, venal, and governed by the maxim, 

" Rem, facias rem, 
Si possis rccte, si non, quoquc modo, rem." 

" But," says Hammond, " the vials of his wrath, the dregs 
of his gall and bitternsss, seem to have been reserved to be 
poured on the heads of De Witt Clinton and Ambrose 
Spencer. He charges them with everything vile, every- 
thing mean and malignant. William P. Van Ness is now 
the admitted author of this production. It is written with 
great talent. As a political writer, its style renders Mr. 
Van Ness unrivaled since the days of Junius ; and yet 
every sentence and line of it seems to have been written 
with such intense hate and malice boiling in his bosom, 
that no man who possesses the least portion of the milk of 
human kindness would consent to enjoy the reputation for 
genius and talent to which the author is entitled, if the 
possession of that reputation must of necessity be connected 
with the evidence which this pamphlet affords of the ex- 
treme malignity of the heart of the writer." 

But these comments bear much too severely on the 
brilliant Van Ness. A weapon so sharp as was the keen 
blade of his satire has ever proved too dangerous to be 
wielded by fallible human nature, and in this case we find 
no exception to this universal rule ; but, in extenuation, 
may be urged the weighty plea of the general custom and 
practice of those political times, which countenanced such 
attacks, and even tolerated physical assault. And it should 
also be borne in mind that at that time Mr. Van Ness was 
naturally in a state of exasperation at the extremely severe 
accusations — however well founded — which had been made 
against his, personal friend, Aaron Burr, in a political 
pamphlet then recently published. This pamphlet was 
almost as bitter, though by no means as able, as the publi- 
cation of Aristides. 

The newspapers of that time were generally violently 
partisan in character, and teemed with the grossest personal 
abuse of political opponents. Mr. Charles Holt, the pub- 
lisher of a Republican paper called the Bee, at New Haven, 
Conn., who had been convicted, fined, and imprisoned for 
sedition in 1799, removed in 1802 and established his paper 
at Hudson by invitation from the Republicans of Columbia. 
" On the appearance of the Bee in Hudson," says Mr. Mil- 
ler, in his " Historical Sketches," " a small paper, less than 
a letter-sheet in size, was issued from the office of Mr. 
Croswell [who was the editor and publisher of the Hudson 
Balnncel called the Wasp, ... and both Wcisj^ and Bee 
stung with personal abuse." They were political opponent-s, 

most bitterly hostile, and were supported and applauded in 
their vituperation by their respective parties. As a speci- 
men of the language employed in their articles, we quote 
from the Wasp a reference to its political antagonists : 
" With them vice and virtue are convertible terms, as 
party interest requires. Yes, in this combination may be 
seen in miniature the conspiracy of a Cataline, and although 
I have not TuUy's powers of elocution, yet ere long I will 
lash the rascals with plain facts, and by a just exposition of 
their conduct I will make those pactitious scoundrels feel 
the just resentment of a just people; and if their callous 
souls are not impervious to the keenest remorse, they will 
fly the sight of honest men, and, like Nyctimene, bewail 
their fall in the dark." 

In 1803, Mr. Croswell, the Federalist editor, made a 
most violent attack on President Jefferson, for which he 
was indicted by the grand jury of the county. He was 
tried in February, 1804, and found guilty under the then 
existing law, though he was defended by no less a lawyer 
than Alexander Hamilton. 

These political controversies did not in those days always 
end in mere words. Mr. Holt, of the Bee, had upon one 
occasion printed an article which was extremely severe on 
Elisha Williams, who, becoming furious in consequence, 
hud in wait for Mr. Holt (having first taken the precaution 
of posting several of his political friends within supporting 
distance), and upon the appearance of the editor assaulted 
and knocked him down ; an act disgraceful enough in itself, 
considering the high position of the perpetrator, and doubly 
so from the fact that Mr. Williams, who was himself a man 
of powerful frame, thought it necessary to provide rein- 
forcements in advance when going to waylay a man who 
was not only naturally feeble and slight, but w;is also a 

In those early times the bank question seems to have been 
a political one. The few banks then in existence appear 
to have been originated and used as party machines, and 
the chartering of new ones was not only made a party 
question, but was often accompanied by bribery and cor- 
ruption to an extent comparatively as great as that to which 
the same agents arc employed at the present day in the 
securing of legislative favors to financial projects. 

Up to the year 1799 there were in the State of New 
York but three banks, and the people thought this number 
was too great, for the system seemed to them too much like 
that of the old Continental paper money, the evils of which 
all either recollected or had heard of from their fathers, 
and the name of bank, too, carried with it the idea of a 
chartered combination of the money power against the 
interests of the poor. The three banks in existence were 
the Bank of New York, the Bank of Albany, and the Bank 
of Columbia, at Hudson ; all in the hands, or under the 
influence, of Federalists. 

That Columbia county bad been able to secure for her- 
self one of these coveted charters at that early day, and in 
spite of the strong popular prejudice against them, shows 
clearly upon what a commanding position of political in- 
fluence among the counties of the State (inferior only to 
New York and Albany) she bad been placed by the num- 
ber and transcendent abilities of her leading men. 


In the year above mentioned the Legislature was peti- 
tioned to incorporate The Manhattan Company, for " sup- 
plying the city of New York with pure and wholesome 
water ;" an object which seemed to be a most laudable one, 
especially in view of the ravages which had been made in 
the city by the then recent visitation of the yellow fever. 
This plausible scheme found favor with the unsuspecting 
legislators, and the desired charter was granted during the 
last days of the session of 1799. As it was uncertain what 
amount might be required for the project, a capital of two 
million dollars was authorized, and, in view of the possi- 
bility that this sum might more than cover the outlay, it 
was provided that " the surplus capital may be employed in 
any way not inconsistent with the laws and constitution of 
the United States, or of the State of New York." But 
not long after the close of the session it was discovered that 
in this seemingly insignificant clause was contained a grant 
of banking privileges to Aaron Burr and his Republican 
associates, who had thus secured by indirection what they 
knew it was impossible to obtain otherwise, viz., an ofiFset to 
the power wielded in the interest of the Federalists by the 
Bank of New York. Hon. Ambrose Spencer, of Columbia, 
was soon afterwards largely interested in the Manhattan 
banking concern. Whether he was so interested from the 
first we are unable to say, but it appears more than proba- 

Then came the project of the State Bank at Albany, 
which was chartered in 1803. The petition was signed by 
Ambrose Spencer, John Taylor, Elisha Jenkins, Thomas 
Tillotson, and others; Columbia county being, as usual, 
well in the foreground. No concealment was here made of 
the fact that this was a measure urged in the Republican 
interest, for it was alleged in the petition that not only did 
the trade and commerce of the capital city require another 
bank, but that the then-existing bank — the Bank of Albany 
— was owned by Federalists, and that its power was used 
oppressively against business men who were members of the 
Republican party. 

The petitioners also a.sked that, in addition to banking 
privileges, they might receive a grant or lease of the Salina 
salt springs for a long term, — say sixty years, — at an annual 
rent to be paid by them to the State of three thousand dol- 
lars during the first ten years, three thousand five hundred 
dollars during a second term of equal length, and four 
thousand dollars yearly thereafter ; the company to be bound 
to furnish, and have always ready for sale at Salina, mer- 
chantable salt, at a price not exceeding five shillings per 
bushel. It is not probable that any among its advocates or 
opponents realized the enormous value of the concession 
asked for, but there were not lacking those who felt that it 
was too extravagant to be granted, and as a result this pro- 
vision of the bill was finally stricken out.* 

This occasion seems to have marked the commencement 
of the system of bribery (to use a plain term) which has 
since that time grown to such alarming proportions. In the 
marking out of the scheme, and before the petition was 
presented, the members of the company had agreed on an 
allotment of stock among themselves, and had reserved a 

* Vide Hammond, vol. i. p. 329. 

surplus to be placed where it would do the most good to 
the project, — -among the membsrs of the Legislature. Two 
differing statements have been made of the manner in 
which this stock fund was used. Both agree that it was 
distributed among Republican members exclusively, and that 
it was guaranteed that its price would be above par ; but 
they difier, in that by one account it is made to appear 
that the distribution was only made among such Republi- 
cans as voted for the charter, and by the other, that it was 
placed with all Republican members, without regard to the 
manner of their voting. It is most probable that the latter 
was the course actually pursued, but in either case the 
intent and the result would be the same, for any member 
who would accept the more direct proposal would not fail 
to see that the value of his stock depended wholly on the 
granting of the charter, and would then vote in accordance 
with his own interest. 

Bills to incorporate the Merchants' Bank of New York 
and the Mercantile Company of Albany failed to pass. It 
was alleged by the friends of those projects that it had been 
agreed between them and the promoters of the State Bank 
that mutual support should be given to secure the paissage 
of the three bills, but that when the State Bank had 
secured their own object they forget the agreement, and 
not only fiiiled to assist but secretly opposed them. 

The Merchants' Bank was again before the Legislature 
in 1804, but with no better result. In 1805 they made a 
third and determined effort for a charter. It was regarded 
as a Federal measure, and was strongly opposed by the Re- 
publicans, under lead of De Witt Clinton and Judge Spen- 
cer. Its most powerful champion in the Assembly was 
William W. Van Ness, of Columbia, who, although he had 
then just made his first appearance in that body, was the 
recognized Federal leader. The opposition was overcome, 
and the bank received its charter. 

These matters are referred to more at length, as show- 
ing the commanding political position held by Columbia 
county, by reason of the eminent abilities of her public 

The political power possessed by Judge Spencer, not only 
while he remained a member of the council of appointment, 
but for years afterwards, seems most remarkable, as well in 
the great influence which he wielded in the making of ap- 
pointments as in the control which he habitually exercised 
over men and measures within the lines of his party. In 
explaining this, Hammond says, " It must be borne in mind 
that all officers, including sheriffs, clerks of counties, and 
justices of the peace, were appointed by the council at Al- 
bany. The appointment of justices conferred a more effect- 
ual means on the central power of influencing the msiss of 
the community than all the other patronage within the gift 
of the government. The control over these oSicers carried 
the influence of the central power into every town and even 
the most obscure neighborhood in the State. ... By some 
such means Judge Spencer acquired and possessed great 
power in creating yearly the appointing power, and the 
ability to create generally carries with it the ability to con- 
trol the thing created. I must not be understood as in- 
tending to represent or even to insinuate that Judge Spencer 
yielded his assent to any measure or the support of any 



man when he believed or suspected that such assent would 
prejudice substantially the great interests of the public. 
Far from it. On the contrary, I believe him to have been 
honest and patriotic in his views ; but I believe he looked 
on these matters as mere personal questions, and thought 
he had a right to pursue a course calculated to advance his 
own views and interest when that interest was not incom- 
patible with the public good. . . . Judge Spencer was 
truly a great man ; but he was not only fond of power, but 
of exercising it. He was industrious, bold, enterprising, 
and persevering. To these qualities it may be added that 
he was a man of commanding intellect, and one of the 
ablest judges, if not the ablest judge, in the United States.' ' 

He was appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court 
Feb. 3, 1804, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resigna- 
tion of Judge Radoliff. In reference to that appointment 
Hammond remarks, " It is a somewhat singular coincidence 
that William W. Van Ness, then a young lawyer and a 
zealous Federalist, of Columbia county, afterwards a judge 
of the Supreme Court, was removed from the office of sur- 
rogate of the county of Columbia for political reasons by 
the same council and at the same time that Mr. Spencer 
was appointed a judge. Did either one or the other antici- 
pate what would be their official, social, and political rela- 
tions for several years succeeding the year 1818?" 

Upon his elevation to the supreme bench. Judge Spencer 
removed his residence to Albany, and ceased to be a citizen 
of Columbia county. 

In 1804 the county gave a majority for the defeated 
gubernatorial candidate. Colonel Burr, the vote being as 
follows: Aaron Burr, twelve hundred and ninety-one; 
Morgan Lewis, eleven hundred and sixty-two ; plurality for 
Burr, one hundred and twenty-nine. 

In this year William W. Van Ness, Moncrief Livingston, 
Peter Silvester, and Jason Warner, Federalists, were elected 
to the Assembly by an average plurality of two hundred 
and eighty votes over their opponents ; Mr. Van Ness, who 
had three months previously been removed from the office of 
surrogate, running considerably ahead of his ticket. He made 
his first appearance in the Legislature at the special session 
called in November, 1804, for the election of United States 
senator and presidential electors. At the regular session, 
convened in January, 1805, he at once, and by general assent, 
assumed the leadership of the Federalist party in the Assem- 
bly, and, as we have seen, achieved a notable success in his 
advocacy of the charter of the Merchants' Bank. This may 
be regarded as the commencement of his short but surpass- 
ingly brilliant public career. 

The vote of the county in 1807 for governor was as fol- 
lows : for Daniel D. Tompkins, thirteen hundred and six ; 
for Morgan Lewis, fifteen hundred and six ; being a 
plurality of two hundred in favor of the unsuccessful 
candidate. The city of Hudson gave Lewis one hundred 
and eighty, and Tompkins one hundred and eighty-six 

In this year Hon. W. W. Van Ness was elevated to the 
supreme bench, and Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer soon 
after became one of the Federalist leaders in the lower 
house. In 1808 tiie Federalists achieved a triunipli in the 
State, the first in a period of ten years. Upon the result 

of this election being known, William W. Van Ness wrote 
to his friend, Solomon Van ll'.;nsselaer, at Albany, in a ju- 
bilant strain, as follows : 

"Ci.AVKRACK, .^Oth April, 1808. 
"Dear Sir,— Federalism has triumphed most gloriously in this 
county. We have at least 000 majority ; 200 more than we ever had. 
If Rensselaer County is faithful we sh.all carry both our members of 
Congress. Hasten to communicate this to our friend, Abraham Van 
Vcchtcn. Let somebody write us about members of Congress, An.^ 
Ac., in Rensselaer and Washington counties as soon as possible." 

In 1810 the county again gave a majority against the 
successful candidate for governor, viz.: for D. D. Tomp- 
kins, sixteen hundred and fourteen ; for Jonas Piatt, 
twenty one hundred and thirty-four; Piatt's plurality, five 
hundred and twenty. The vote of Hudson stood — Tomp- 
kins, two hundred and thirty-nine; Piatt, three hundred 
and three. The gubernatorial contest in the county in 
1813 resulted in a vote of seventeen hundred and seventy- 
nine for Stephen Van Rensselaer, against twelve hun- 
dred and sixty-four for Governor Tompkins, who was re- 

In 1812, Columbia's most distinguished .son, Martin Van 
Buren. was elected to the Senate, and made his first appear- 
ance in the New York political arena at the November 
session in that year. 

Hostilities against Great Britain had been declared by 
Congress on the 20th of the preceding June, and the war 
question had now become almost the only one which di- 
vided political parties. The Federals opposed the war on 
the ground that we had no cause for declaring it, or at any 
rate that there was much greater cause for war against 
France than against England, and that had war been de- 
clared against the former country, all our difficulties with 
the latter would have been removed. Others believed that 
the government had rushed into hostilities prematurely, 
and before the nation was prepared for their proper prose- 
cution ; but a large majority of the Republican party be- 
lieved that the war was a just one, and that the proper 
time had arrived for its declaration. 

Mr. Van Buren supported the war, and measures for its 
vigorous prosecution were warmly and powerfully advocated 
b/him in the Senate, but were no less vigorously and ably 
opposed by Elisha Williams and Jacob Van Rutsen Rens- 
selaer in the Assembly. Frequent conferences became 
necessary on account of the collisions which constantly oc- 
curred between the Federalist House and the Republican 
Senate. " In these conferences," says Holland, in his life 
of the statesman, " the measures in dispute were publicly 
discussed, and the discussion embraced the general policy of 
the administration and the expediency of the war. The 
exciting nature of the questions thus debated, the solemnity 
of the occasion, the discussions being conducted in the 
presence of the two houses, and the brilliant talents of the 
parties to the controversy, drew vast audiences, and pre- 
sented a field for the display of eloquence unsurpassed in 
dignity and interest by the assemblies of ancient Greece. 
m". Van Buren was always the leading speaker on the part 
of the Senate, and by the vigor of his logic, his acuteness 
and dexterity in debate, and the patriotic spirit of his senti- 
ments, commanded great applause." 


Mr. Van Buren was appointed attorney-general in 1815, 
and in the following year was re-elected to the Senate for a 
term of four years. In the election of 1816 the county 
again gave a majority to the unsuccessful candidate for 
governor, the number received by Governor Tompkins 
being twelve hundred and eighty-nine against fifteen hun- 
dred and sixty-one for Rufus King, — a plurality of two 
hundred and seventy-two votes. 

Upon the question of the nomination for governor in 
1817, the Republican (or Democratic) party seemed hope- 
lessly divided, one faction favoring and the other opposing 
the nomination of De Witt Clinton. A large majority of 
the Federalists, having little hope for the success of a can- 
didate of their own, desired and labored for the nomination 
of Clinton. " Among those most active in their endeavors 
to produce this determination of the party," says Ham- 
mond, " were Judges Van Ness and Piatt, Jacob Rutsen 
Van Rensselaer, Elisha Williams, and generally the lead- 
ing Federalists of the city of New York. The ardent 
temperament of Judge Van Ness and some other Federal- 
ists would not permit them to remain neutral on the ques- 
tion respecting the nomination then agitated among the 

The opposition to Clinton within the ranks of the Re- 
publican party came chiefly from the Tammany Hall branch, 
which Mr. Clinton himself, in derision, named the Bucktail 
party, from the fact that a leading order of the Tammany 
society upon certain occasions wore a part of the tail of a 
deer in their hats.* This designation came to be generally 
applied to their adherents throughout the State, as well as 
in New York city, and thus originated the name of a party 
which flourished for a number of years, and which was 
celebrated by Fitz-Greene Halleck in verse, of which the 
following is a specimen : 

" That beer and those Bucktails 111 never forget. 
But oft, when alone and unnoticed by all, 
I think — is the porter-cask foaming there yet ? 
Are the Bucktails still swigging at Tammany Hall?" 

One of the principal leaders of the party was Mr. Van 
Buren, and Columbia became known as one of the Bucktail 
counties of the State as regarded general political questions. 
The Clintonians, however, polled nearly the entire vote of 
the county for governor in 1817,t the figures being, for 

«This is what the Indian missionary, Heckewelder (most excellent 
authority in all Indian matters), says of the chief Tamanend, or 
Tammany, and the origin of the society which bears his name: 

"He was a Delaware chief who never had his equal. The fame of 
this great man e.\tended even among the whites, who fabricated vari- 
ous legends respecting him, which I never heard, however, from the 
mouth of an Indian, and therefore believe them to be fabulous. In 
the Revolutionary war his enthusiastic admirers dubbed him a saint, 
and he was established under the name of St. Tammany, the patron 
saint of America. His name was inserted in some calendars, and 
his festival celebrated on the first day of May in every year. On that 
day a numerous society of his votaries walked together in procession 
through the streets of Philadelphia, their hats decorated with buck- 
tails, and proceeded to a handsome rural place out of town, which 
they called the mtjwam ; where, after a long talk or Indian speech 
had been delivered, and the calumet of peace and friendship had 
been duly smoked, they spent the day in festivity and mirth." 

t A gubernatorial election was held in 1817, on account of Gover- 
nor Tompkins having been elected vice-president of the United 

Clinton, thirteen hundred and thirty-one ; for all others, 
thirty-four. This result merely showed that the Bucktails 
permitted the election to go for Clinton by default, as, not- 
withstanding the apparent unanimity, the number of votes 
received by him was considerably less than one-half the 
number polled for King and Tompkins in the preceding 

In 1820 the county went with the majority in the State, 
giving Clinton sixteen hundred and cightj'-nine votes, 
against twelve hundred and sixty-four cast for his oppo- 
nent, D. D. Tompkins. 

On the question of calling the convention of 1821 for 
revising the State constitution, the vote of the county was 
as follows : for the convention, two thousand two hundred 
and thirty-five ; against the convention, two thousand and 
twenty-five. The county delegates in that body were Eli- 
sha Williams, William W. Van Ness, Francis Silvester, and 
Jacob Rutsen Van llensselaer.| On the question of the 
adoption of the revised constitution, the vote of the county 
(given in January, 1822,) was: for adoption, seventeen 
hundred and eighty-eight; against adoption, two thousand 
three hundred and forty-four. Germantown gave four votes 
for, and one hundred and seven against, adoption. The 
majority in the State for the constitution was thirty-three 
thousand nine hundred and twenty-five. 

In the election of 1824 the vote of Columbia for gover- 
nor was as follows: for De Witt Clinton, three thousand 
and eighty-three; for Samuel Young, two thousand and 
ninety-five. The county now stood politically with the 
State, Clinton being elected by a majority of sixteen thou- 
sand nine hundred and six. 

In this campaign, the anti-Ciintonians were divided into 
two factions or parties, the division being mainly on the 
question of the electoral law and the presidential succession ; 
one favoring, and the other opposing, the election of Mr. 
Crawford. The latter styled themselves the People's party, 
being in favor of the election of presidential electors by 
the people ; and they designated their Democratic oppo- 
nents as the Regency party. The People's party was repre- 
sented — though notstrongly — in Columbia county, and Hon. 
Joseph D. Monell, Hon. Ambrose L. Jordan, and Captain 
Alexander Cofiin were among its recognized leaders. Its 
vote was given chiefly to Mr. Clinton, though many 
declined to vote at all. 

" The People's party, in the winter of 1824, had deter- 
mined to support Colonel Young as their candidate for 
governor. Several caucuses were held by the members of 
the Legislature belonging to that party. In these caucuses 
John Cramer, Henry Wheaton, and Joseph D. Monell, of 
Columbia county, were the most active. It was finally 
agreed that a State convention should be called for the pur- 
pose of nominating a governor. The person who should 
draw the address to be signed by the members of the Legis- 
lature making the call was appointed, and it was well un- 
derstood that Mr. Young was to be put in nomination for 
governor. They also agreed to establish a newspaper in 
Albany in opposition to the regency, and Allen Jordan, 
afterwards mayor of the city of Hudson, was to have been 

% Mr. Van Buren was a leading member of tJiat convention, as a 
delegate from Otsego. 


the editor. In case the party should be successful, he was 
to be made State printer. So ardent were the mem- 
bers of this association, that some part of the printing ap- 
paratus for the new paper was actually purchased, when 
the nomination of Colonel Young by the Regency party 
disconcerted their schemes, and, for a time, paralyzed their 
exertions." ( Vide Hammond, vol. ii. p. 156.) 

Upon popular questions submitted to the people in the 
two succeeding years the voie of Columbia was given as 
follows : 

1825. — For election of presidential electors by districts, 
sixteen hundred and seventy-seven ; for their election on 
general ticket by plurality, two thousand eight hundred 
and seventy. 

1826. — For election of justices of the peace, and for 
the extension of the elective franchise, three thousand nine 
hundred and twenty-three ; for election of justices, and 
against extending the franchise, eight; against both propo- 
sitions, nine; against the election of justices, and in favor 
of extension of franchise, three. 

The county vote of 1826 stood — for governor, De Witt 
Clinton, two thousand five hundred and fifty-two ; William 
B. Rochester, two thousand four hundred and ten ; the lat- 
ter being the Bucktail candidate. That party was then in 
a state of splendid discipline, and carried both branches of 
the Legislature, though Mr. Clinton's great personal popu- 
larity made him governor. In this year Aaron Vanderpoel 
made his first appearance in the Assembly, to which he had 
been elected in the fall of 1825, as a Clintonian. 

On the 17th of July, 1827, a convention of protectionists 
was held at Albany. This convention asserted in strong 
terms the power and the duty of Congress to pass laws for 
the protection of home manufactures, and for the encourage- 
ment of the wool-growing industry of the country. Among 
the prominent men who composed this body were Elisha 
Williams, James Vanderpoel, and Jacob Rutsen Van Rens- 
selaer, delegates from Columbia county. 

The Anti-Masonic party, which had its origin in the 
mysterious incident of the abduction or disappearance of 
William Morgan from Genesee county in September, 1826, 
first appeared as a political power in 1827, when it devel- 
oped sufficient strength to carry the elections in the coun- 
ties of Genesee, Monroe, Livingston, Orleans, and Niagara 
in the face of the Bucktail and Adams organizations, — a 
result which astonished even its own adherents. Its opera- 
tion, however, was as yet confined chiefly to the western 
portion of the State. 

The Clintonian party ceased to exist in 1828, in conse- 
quence of the death of their leader, Governor Clin.ton, 
February 11 in that year. 

The "Jackson party," which first became generally known 
as such in 1828, was made up from the old Bucktail party, 
a portion of the Clintonians, and a majority of the adher- 
ing Masons, who sought this shelter from the unsparing 
proscription of the Anti-Masonic party. And at the head 
of the Jackson party in New York stood Martin Van 
Buren, its candidate for governor. 

Its antagonist was the National Republican or Adams 
party, whose candidate in 1828 was Smith Thompson. In 
this party were found the greater portion of the former 

Federalists. Its most prominent member in Columbia 
county was Elisha Williams, who, with Killian Miller, were 
then among its leaders in the Assembly. Ambrose L. Jor- 
dan was a supporter of this party, and was known as an 
Adams Democrat. So also was Captain Alexander Coffin, 
of Hudson, who was made president of the Adams State 
convention, held at Albany on the 10th of June in that 
year. Aaron Vanderpoel, who had been elected to the 
Assembly as a Clintonian in 1825, was now an adherent of 
the Jackson party. 

The result of the election of 1828 was a plurality of one 
hundred and thirty-six votes against Mr. Van Buren in his 
native county, — viz., for Thompson, three thousand five 
hundred and sixty-one; for Van Buren, three thousand 
four hundred and twenty-five ; and for Solomon Southwick 
(Anti-Mason), eighty. This seems like rather a remarkable 
result, except that it placed Columbia again in her old 
position on the side of the defeated candidates. 

In 1829 the county again became Democratic, electing 
to the Assembly Messrs. A. Vanderpoel (formerly Clinto- 
nian), Oliver Wiswall, and Jonathan Lapliam by an average 
plurality of seven hundred and seventy-seven over the 
opposing ticket. 

In the election of 1830, Columbia gave to Enos T. Throop, 
the Democratic candidate for governor, three thousand 
three hundred and eightj'-four votes, against two thousand 
five hundred and eleven for Francis Granger, the Anti- 
Masonic candidate. John W. Edmonds (Jacksonian) was 
at this time first elected to the Assembly, and in the follow- 
ing year was raised to the Senate, by a plurality of eight 
hundred and fifty-one votes over the opposing candidate. 

The Anti-Masonic vote of the county was largely increased 
in the election of 1832, Francis Granger receiving three 
thousand six hundred and eighty-eight votes for governor, 
against three thousand nine hundred and fifty-three given for 
Wm. L. Marcy, the Democratic candidate. The Jackson 
presidential electors received three thousand nine hundred 
and sixty-five votes, against three thousand six hundred and 
eighty-two given for the opposing ticket, — a majority of 
two hundred and eighty-three. 

About this time the Anti-Masonic party went out of 
existence, having accomplished its object, the overthrow 
of Freemasonry, or at least the extinction of nearly every 
Masonic lodge in the State. Upon the ruins of this and 
the National Republican party arose the Whig party, whose 
first gubernatorial candidate was William H. Seward,* in 
the election of 1834. In that election Columbia gave him 
three thousand eight hundred and sixty-four votes, against 
four thousand one hundred and fifty for W. L. Marcy, 
Democrat. Among the scattering votes given in that year 
were one for Henry Clay for governor, and one for John C. 
Calhoun for lieutenant-governor. In 1833 one vote had 
been given for Andrew Jackson for member of Assembly. 

In 1836, Mr. Van Buren received in his own county 
three thousand seven hundred and sixty-seven votes for the 
office of President, the vote given fur the Harrison electors 
being three thousand and fifty-one. For governor, Marcy 

* Mr. Seward had been 6rst elected to the Senate, in 1830, by the 
Anti-Masonic party in the seventh district. 



received three thousand seven hundred and forty-three, 
against three thousand and eighty-six for Jesse Buel, 
Whig. In 1838 the vote of the county for governor 
stood four thousand and sixty-eight for Marcy, and four 
thousand and eleven for Seward, the successful candidate. 

It was during the exciting campaign of that year that a 
name which has since become as familiar as a household 
word — the name of Samuel J. Tilden — was first heard as 
that of a champion in the political arena. He "was at that 
time a law-student, and but twenty-four years of age. The 
circumstances of his appearance upon the rostrum in the 
neighborhood of his birthplace were as follows : Nathaniel 
P. Talmadge, then a member of the United States Senate, 
having separated himself from the Democratic party and 
joined the Whigs, had been announced to speak in Colum- 
bia county upon the issues of the day and in opposition to 
the financial policy of President Van Buren, and it was 
the hope of the Whig projectors of the meeting that many 
of the wavering voters in this county might be converted 
to Whig principles by the powerful reasoning of the senator. 
It was especially for the benefit of these doubtful ones that 
the meeting was held ; but although the attendance of 
pronounced Democrats was not de.«ired, yet the word of 
notification had been passed along their line, and they were 
present in large numbers. 

The address of Mr. Talmadge was a most forcible and 
eloquent one, and during its progress he particularly empha- 
sized the assertion that it was not he nor the Whig party 
who had changed their position and principles, but that it 
was the Democratic party who had abandoned their political 
faith and traditions. The address and the argument were 
most able, and, when the speaker closed, one of the Whig 
leaders offered a resolution, which passed without opposi- 
tion, inviting a reply from any Democratic speaker present 
who might be so disposed. The young Democrats, who 
were mostly gathered in the rear of the hall, regarded this 
as a challenge, and shouted loudly for Tilden, who, per- 
haps by premeditation, was near at hand, and promptly 
took the stand just vacated by the senator. . . 

After discussing the main question of the controversy, 
he adverted especially to Mr. Talmadge's statement that it 
was the Democrats who had changed position while he him- 
self had remained consistent. By way of testing the truth 
of this declaration he turned to the Whigs on the platform, 
and addressing each in turn, asked who it was that had 
changed, — whether it was themselves or the .senator who 
had been opposed to them in the late presidential contest, 
but was now their political friend and champion ? Finally, 
addressing the chairman of the meeting, the venerable Mr. 

Gilbert, he said, in a tone of mingled compliment and 

expostulation, "And you, sir; have you changed?" and the 
honest and straightforward old man vehemently answered, 
"No!" Mr. Tilden skillfully availed himself of this dec- 
laration of his old neighbor and friend, and used it against 
the senator with such telling effect that the meeting, which 
had been called in the interest of the Whigs, was turned to 
the advantage of their enemies, and the young opponent 
of Senator Talmadge had achieved great popularity with 
the Democracy of his native county. Two years later, Oct. 
3, 1840, at New Lebanon, Mr. Tilden made another .speech 

of remarkable power, which is yet well remembered and 
often mentioned by the older residents of the county. 

In 1839 the question of the election of mayors by the 
people was submitted to the electors of the county, result- 
ing in a vote of four thousand seven hundred for, and three 
against the proposition. 

In the memorable presidential contest of 1840 the county 
was Democratic, though not strongly so, — the numberof 
votes given for the Van Buren electors being four thousand 
four hundred and seventy-eight, as against four thousand 
two hundred and ninety for the Harrison ticket, — a plurality 
of one hundred and eighty-eight. For governor, William 
C. Bouck, Democrat, received four thousand five hundred 
and seventeen votes, against four thousand two hundred and 
seventy-two cast for Seward, — two hundred and forty-five 
plurality. There were five anti-slavery votes cast in this 
election, these being the first of that political complexion 
cast in the county. 

The first reference to the existence of an anti-slavery 
sentiment in Columbia county is an account of an unsuccess- 
ful attempt to hold a meeting of that description in the city 
of Hudson in November, 1835. Two and a half years later 
(April 20, 1838), a large anti-slavery meeting was held in the 
Baptist church in the same city, and was " addressed by 
James G. Birney, late a slaveholder in Kentucky," and H. 
B. Stanton, both these gentlemen then being secretaries of 
the National Anti-Slavery Society, and Mr. Birney being 
afterwards the candidate of the Liberty party for President 
of the United States. 

At that meeting (the call for which was headed by Cap- 
tain Alexander CoflSn, Rev. John Lester, and Nathaniel 
Pinne) the Columbia County Anti-Slavery Society was 
formed and organized by the choice of the following 
ofiScers, viz. : President, Henry P. Skinner ; Vice-Presi- 
dents, Rev. Charles Lester, Alexander CoiSn (then ninety- 
eight years of age). Rev. Peter Prink, Dr. Dorr, 

Harvey Gott, Martin Beebe, Charles Esselstyn, and Dan- 
iel Baldwin ; Corresponding Secretary, Silas Stone ; Record- 
ing Secretary, S. S. Hathaway ; Treasurer, H. D. Humphrey ; 
Executive Committee, Rev. Seth Ewer, Eli Mosier, Thomas 
Marshall, Josiah St. John, and I. V. Bassett. It appears, 
however, that the society never accomplished any result in 
the influencing of votes in this county, for the highest 
number ever cast for a candidate was less than the number 
of original officers of the society. 

Columbia's vote for governor in 1842 was, for Wm. C. 
Bouck, four thousand two hundred and seventy-eight ; for 
Luther Bradish, three thou.sand three hundred and sixty- 
two. In 1844, for governor, Silas Wright received four 
thousand seven hundred and thirty-six votes ; Millard Fill- 
more, four thousand two hundred and ninety-four. 

The presidential vote of the county in the same year 
was, Polk (Democratic), four thousand six hundred and 
ninety-two; Clay (Whig), four thousand three hundred 
and twenty-two ; and the candidate of the Liberty party, 
eleven ; total, nine thousand and twenty-five. 

At this time commenced the existence of the Anti-Rent 
party as a political power, the first movement in Columbia 
being the organization, in the town of Taghkanic, in No- 
vember, 1844, of "The Taghkanic Mutual Association," 



Tvith the following oiSoers, viz. : President, John I. John- 
son ; Vice-Presidents, James M. Strever, George I. Ross- 
man, Peter Poucher, Samuel A. Tanner, and Greorge I. 
Finkle; Treasurer, Philip B. Miller; Recording Secretary, 
Anthony Poucher ; Corresponding Secretary, Peter Poucher ; 
Executive Committee, John Bain and James M. Strever. 

The object of the society was " to blot from the statute 
book the last relics of Feudalism," and the members pledged 
themselves to use all lawful and honorable means to rid 
themselves and the people of the burdens imposed by the 
manorial system ; and to that end they pledged themselves 
never to make nor accept (without the consent of a major- 
ity of the association) any proposition for the payment of 
rent or purchase of soil to or from any person claiming to 
hold under the Livingston or Van Rensselaer patents. 

The movement, however, did not become entirely a 
political one until after the arrest and conviction of the 
anti-rent leaders for the foolish and lawless excesses com- 
mitted in December of the same year. The convictions 
had the effect to make many anti-rent converts, and to lift, 
the faction to the numerical dignity of a political party ; 
and the policy adopted by this party was to elect all town 
and county officers from their own ranks, to vote for no 
State, civil, judicial, or executive officer unfriendly to them 
or unpledged to their cause, and to disregard all former 
political opinions. This policy caused politicians to fear 
and to be anxious to conciliate them ; and so rapidly did 
they grow in influence and strength that the gubernatorial 
candidate of the party (Governor John Y^oung) was elected, 
in 1846, by a majority of about ten thousand, to which 
Columbia county contributed by the following vote : For 
John Young (Anti-Rent), four thousand two hundred 
and four ; for Silas Wright (Democratic), three thousand 
three hundred and eighteen. Governor Young at once 
pardoned all the anti-rent convicts, on the ground that their 
offenses had been political rather than criminal, and that 
it was the wise policy of all good governments to forgive 
and restore to citizenship all political offenders after the 
law had been vindicated and peace restored. 

The vote of the county in 1846 on the question of a new 
State constitution was as follows: For a new constitution, 
five thousand two hundred and eighty-two ; against, nine 
hundred and one. For constitutional amendment giving 
equal suffrage to colored persons, six hundred and sixty- 
six ; against said suffrage, five thousand two hundred and 
sixty-one. The only town giving an unanimous vote against 
colored suffrage was Clermont. The vote of Germantown on 
that question was one hundred and forty against, and six in 
favor of the suffrage ; Hillsdale voted nineteen for, and three 
hundred and fifty-six against the measure ; Livingston, four 
for, and two hundred and sixty against it ; and several other 
towns in about the same proportion. 

The influence of the Anti-Rent party in the convention 
was sufficient to procure the insertion of a clause in the 
new constitution abolishing all feudal tenures and incidents, 
and forbidding the leasing of agricultural land for a term 
exceeding twenty years. The Legislature' at successive 
sessions passed laws which bore heavily against the land- 
lord interest, and so far the party seemed to have accom- 
plished its mission. 

But for several years after the legitimate occupation of 
the party seemed to be gone its organization was kept up, 
mainly for the purpose, as is said by many, of enabling a 
few leaders to hold its vote ready for sale to aspiring candi- 
dates, or to one or the other of the great parties, or perhaps to 
both parties at the same time. For this purpose the meet- 
ings were regularly held, thougli frequently not attended by 
more than two or three persons ; these, of course, always 
being parly managers. It is related that upon one of these 
occasions a few faithful ones met at one of the country 
taverns, and after fortifying themselves whh spirituous sus- 
tenance, proceeded at about nine P.M. to organize for the 
transaction of the important business which had called them 
Uigether. Without a moment's delay or hesitation the 
" meeting" was opened and organized by the spokesman, 
Mr. Finkle, in the following words : " Gentlemen, please 

come to order. I move that Becrafl; be chairman of 

this meeting. I second the motion. All in favor of 

Becrafl as chairman of this meeting say aye ; aye carried. 
Mr. Becraft git right round here and take the chair;" the 
operation of making, seconding, and putting the motion, 
voting affirmatively upon it, announcing the result, and 
inducting the chairman into his office, being all performed 
by Mr. Finkle without the least assistance, and without 
once pausing to take breath. The business of the meeting 
was dispatched with almost equal celerity, and it was then 

As late as 1851 Columbia sent delegates to an Anti-Rent 
convention held in September of that year, .it Albany, upon 
which occasion the counties of Albany, Rensselaer, Scho- 
harie, Delaware, Greene, Ulster, Sullivan, Otsego, Oneida, 
Dutchess, and Montgomery were also represented. The 
party, however, did not exist long after that time. 

About 1846 came the split of the Democratic party into 
the " Hunker" and " Barnburner" factions. The first 
political meeting of the " Hunkers" (as such) was a very 
numerous one held at Hillsdale, and presided over by the 
Hon. John F. Collin, one of the most prominent leaders in 
the county. A tall flag-staff was raised amidst the 
enthusiasm, and speeches were made by John H. Reynolds, 
of Kinderhook, James Van Santvoord, Henry A. Collin, 
and others. The " Barnburner" movement soon resulted 
in the formation of the Free-Soil party, which, in 1848, 
nominated ex-President Van Buren as its presidential candi- 
date. The vote of Columbia in that election stood : for 
Lewis Cass, Democrat, two thousand one hundred and 
twenty-one ; for General Taylor, Whig, three thousand 
nine hundred and forty-three ; for Martin Van Buren, 
Free-Soil, two thou.sand one hundred ; for the Liberty party 
candidate, five. 

In 1850, Horatio Seymour received three thousand seven 
hundred and eighty-one votes, and Washington Hunt three 
thousand seven hundred and ninety-six votes, in Columbia, 
for the office of governor. 

In the presidential election of 1852 the county gave 
Franklin Pierce (Democrat) four thousand four hundred 
and fifty-five votes, and Winfield Scott (Whig) four thou- 
sand one hundred and forty-two votes, for the office of Presi- 
dent, seven votes being given to the Free-Soil or Liberty 


The vote of the county cast in 1854 for the four guber- 
natorial candidates who were then in the field was, for 
Horatio Seymour, two thousand three hundred and eighty ; 
for Myron H. Clark, two thousand four hundred and forty- 
four ; for Daniel Ulraan, fifteen hundred and eighty-two ; 
for Greene C. Bronson, nine hundred and ninety-four. 

In the presidential elections which have occurred since 
that time the vote of Columbia has been cast as follows : 

1856. — For Jsimes Buchanan (Democrat) 3020 

For John C. Fremont (Republican) .3818 

For Millard Fillmore ("American") 1981 

I860.— For A. Lincoln (Republican) 5108 

For J. C. Breckinridge (Democrat) 4722 

1S64.— For A. Lincoln (Republican) 4872 

For (}. B. McClellan (Democrat) 5240 

1868.— For U. S. Grant (Republican) 5354 

For Horatio Seymour (Democrat) 5661 

1872.- For U. S. Grant (Republican) 5452 

For Horace Greeley (Democrat) 6047 

1876.— For Samuel J. Tilden (Democrat) 6311 

For R. B. Hayes (Republican) 5799 

The votes cast in Columbia county on popular questions 
submitted to the people since the year 1850 have been as 
follows : 

1858.- For convention to revise the constitution 3597 

Against same 1916 

1859.- For State loan to pay Hoating debt 2743 

Against same ' 1734 

I860.— For equal suffrage to colored pcrs^ons 1881 

Against same 5646 

1864.— For amendment to allow soldiers voting 4062 

Against same 587 

1865.— For State bounty act 6448 

Against same 762 

1866.— For constitutional convention 5060 

Against same 4794 

1869.— For amended constitution 4504 

Against same 3801 

For uniform rate of assessment and taxation 4526 

For property qualification for co)orcd men 4703 

Against same 3368 

1870.— For act creating a State debt 4442 

Against same 5070 

1873.— For appointment of judges of court of appeals and 

Supreme Court 2136 

Against same 3896 

For appointment of city and county judges 2049 

Against same ! .". 3787 

1874. — Eleven proposed oonstitutioual amendments submitted 
at this election received majorities ranging from 2000 
to 5000. 
1877. — For amendments to Sections 3 and 4, Article V., consti- 
tution 7219 


; — Court-Houses and Jails — Alrasho 


The line of descent of the judicial system of New York 
can be traced backward, by those curious to do so, through 
colonial times to Magna Charta, and beyond into the 
days of the Saxon Heptarchy in England. The great in- 
strument wrested by the barons from the king at Runny- 
mede, a.d. 1215, was but a regathering of the rights and 
privileges of which John and his Norman predecessors had 
despoiled the order of nobles of the realm. A comparison 
of the charters of liberties drawn up by the colonial 

blies of 1683 and 1691, and the bill of rights adopted by 
the State in 1787, with the great charter, will disclose many 
provisions of like import. 

But the courts were first introduced into what is now 
the State of New York by the Dutch, at the institution of 
their rule in 1621, the director-general and his council 
being a trinity of legislative, executive, and judicial au- 
thority. In 1641-42 the " Nine Men" held a weekly court, 
and in 1653 the burgomasters and schepens of New Am- 
sterdam (New York) and Fort Orange (Albany) were 
created, and held courts corresponding to the present mayor 
and aldermen's courts, to which the Dutch tribunal was 
changed on the accession of the English, in 1664. Killian 
Van Rensselaer held a patroon's court in his manor of 
Rensselaerwyck, where he dispensed justice (?) after the 
manner of feudal times, and practically made his tribunal a 
court of last resort, by rendering nugatory all rights of ap- 
peal therefrom by a pledge exacted from his tenants in ad- 
vance to forego their privilege in that respect, as a condition 
precedent to occupancy of his estates. The director-general 
and council held the orphan court as their prerogative, 
the burgomasters being, on their creation, ex-officio orphan- 
masters until, on their own application, they were relieved 
of the burden and special orphan-masters appointed. 

The first English court established in the colony was the 
court of assizes, created by the code known as the " Duke's 
Ivaws," promulgated by an Assembly at Hempstead, L. I., 
in 1665. Courts of sessions and town courts were also 
provided by this code, and a commission for a court of 
oyer and terminer for the trial of capital offenses, when 
the information was filed in the court of sessions more than 
two months before the sitting of the as.sizes. These courts 
were abolished by the Assembly of 1683, which passed an 
act " to settle courts of justice," under which courts of 
sessions, oyer and terminer, town and justices' courts were 
re-established with increased jurisdiction, and a court of 
chancery created. The Assembly of 1691 repealed all legis- 
lation of the former Assembly, and of the governor and 
council, and established, as a temporary expedient, the 
courts of sessions, confining their jurisdiction to criminal 
matters ; courts of common pleas, with civil jurisdiction ; 
justices' courts in the towns; the court of chancery; and a 
Supreme Court of judicature. These courts were enacted 
in 1691, 1693, and 1695, and ceased in 1698, by limita- 
tion. The court of oyer and terminer was not continued 
in 1691 as a separate tribunal, but its name was retained 
to distinguish the criminal circuit of the Supreme Court. 
On the 15th of May, 1699, the governor (Eari Bellamont), 
and council, by an ordinance, continued the courts of the 
Assembly of 1691, with the exception of the court of 
chancery, which last, however, was revived August 28, 
1701, by Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan, who declared him- 
self the chancellor thereof; but Lord Cornbury, then gov- 
ernor, on the 13th of June, 1703, su.spended the tribunal. 
On the preparation by the chief and second judges of the 
province of a fee-bill and code of practice for the same, 
Cornbury finally, Nov. 7, 1704, re-established the court, 
and revived the cases pending therein at the daU of his 
suspension of it. All of the above tribunals, continued or 
revived by the ordinances before named, were held by that 


authority alone until the English rule was abrogated by the 
Revolution for American independence. 

The manors of Livingston and Rjnsellaerswyck were both 
granted " a court leet and court baron, to be hold as often 
as the lords of those minors chose." 

The powers and jurisdiction of the court granted to the 
manor of Livingston were expressed in the patent of Gov- 
ernor Thomas Dongan as follows : 

" I, the said Thouiii' Dongan, have also Given and Granted, and by 
these Presents Doe Give and Grant unto the said Robert Livingston, 
and to the Heires and Assignes of the said Robert Livingston, full 
Power and authority, at all times, and forever hereafter, in the said 
Lordship and Manor, one Court Leet and one Court Barron, to hold 
and keep at such time and times and Soe often, Yearely, as ho or they 
shall sec meet, and all fines. Issues, Amerciaments, at the said Court 
Leet and Court Barron, to be holden with the said Lordshipp and Man- 
nor to be Sett, forfeited, or Imposed, and Payable, or happening, at 
nny time, to be Payable by any the Inhabitants of or within the said 
Lordshipp or Mannorof Livingston, or the Limitts or Bounds thereof, 
and also all and every the Powers and authoritycs hereinbefore- 
menconed for the holding and keeping the said Court Lcett, Courtt 
Baron from time to time, and to award and Issue out the Customary 
Writts to be Issued and awarded out of the said Court Leet and Courtt 
Baron, to be kept by the said Robert Livingston, his Ueires and As- 
signes forever, or theire or' any of theire Stewards deputed and ap- 
pointed with full and ample Power and authority to Destraine for the 
Rents, Services, and other Sumes of Mony, Payable by reason of the 
Premises, and all other Lawful Remedyes and meanes for the haveing. 
Possessing, Receiving, Levying, and Enjoyeing tho Premissesse, and 
every parte and parcell of the same, and all Wastes, Estrayes, Wrecks, 
Deodands, Goods of felons happening and being forfeited within the 
said Lordshipp and Mannor, and all and every sume and Sumes of 
Mony to boe Paid as a Post fine upon or fines to bo Levyed if any 
Lands, Tenements, or Hereditaments within the said Lordshipp or 
Mannor of Livingston, together with the advowson and Right of Pat- 
ronage and all and every the Church and Churches Established or 
Erected or hereafter to be had Erected or Established in the said 

A court of appeals, for the correction of errors only, was 
established in 1691, but appeals in certain cases would lie 
from it to the king in privy council. It was composed of 
the governor and his council, who sat in the fort when con- 
vened in that capacity. The prerogative court (court of 
probates) was held by the governor during the colonial 
period by virtue of the instructions received by that official 
from the crown ; the granting of probates being a part of 
the royal prerogative retained by the king. The courts of 
common picas, in remote counties, were authorized to take 
the proof of wills, and transmit the papers for record in the 
office at New York. Surrogates, with limited powers, were 
appointed previous to 1750, also in other counties. A court 
of admiralty was held by the governor and council under 
the Dutch rule; and under the English, it was at first held 
by the governor's special commissions until 1678, when 
authority was given to appoint a judge and other officers; 
it eventually, however, depended from the lords of the 
admiralty in England. 

The constitution of 1777, of New York, provided for a 
court for " the trial of impeachments, and the correction of 
errors," the same being the president of the Senate for the 
time being, the senators, chancellor, and judges of the 
Supreme Court, or a majority of them. This court re- 
mained <Ae same under the constitution of 1821, with 
some change in its composition, and ceased with the adop- 
tion of the constitution of 18-16. 

The court of chancery was recognized by the first con- 
stitution, and a chancellor appointed for it by the governor. 
It was reorganized in 1788, and ceased its existence, pur- 
suant to the constitution of IS 16, on the first Monday of 
July, 1847. 

The Supreme Court of judicature was recognized by the 
first constitution, as the tribunal then existed, and was 
reorganized in 1778, the judges being appointed by the 
council of appointment. The court of exchequer was a 
branch of the Supreme Court, the same as during the colo- 
nial period, and was reorganized in 1786, " for the better 
levying and accounting for fines, forfeitures, issues, and 
amercements, and debts due to the people of the State." 
It was abolished by the general repealing act of December 
10, 1828. Circuit courts were established April 19, 1786, 
to be held by justices of the Supreme Court in the respective 
counties. Under the second constitution, the circuit courts 
were held by circuit judges, appointed by the governor, 
there being eight circuits in the State. The constitution 
of 1846 abolished the circuits as then established, and pro- 
vided for the holding the circuit court by tho justices of 
the Supreme Court. 

Courts of oyer and terminer were provided by an act 
passed February 22, 1788, to be held by the justice of the 
Supreme Court at the same time with the circuit. Two or 
more of the judges and assistant judges of the court of 
common pleas, in the respective counties, were to sit in the 
oyer and terminer with the justice. Under the constitu- 
tion of 1821 the oyer and terminer was held by the circuit 
judge. Any justice of the Supreme Court could, however, 
hold a circuit or preside at an oyer and terminer. The 
court of admiralty existed but a short time under the State 
government, the court ceasing at the adoption of the Federal 
Constitution in 1789 ; that instrument vesting admiralty 
jurisdiction solely in the federal courts. 

The court of probates was created in 1778, by the act to 
"organize the government of the State," passed March 16, 
in that year. This act divested the governor of tho powers 
he possessed in the colonial period in the prerogative and 
probate courts, and transferred them to the judge of the 
court of probates, except in the appointment of surrogates. 
In 1787 surrogates were empowered to be appointed. The 
judge of the court of probates held his office at New York 
until 1797, when an act was passed, March 10, requiring 
the court to be held in Albany, and the records to be re- 
moved and kept there. The court had appellate jurisdic- 
tion over the surrogates' courts, and was abolished March 
21, 1823, its jurisdiction transferred to the chancellor, and 
its records deposited in the office of the clerk of the court 
of appeals in Albany. 

Surrogates were appointed under tl»e first constitution for 
an unlimited period by the council of appointment, and an 
appeal lay from their decisions to tlie judge of the court of 
probates of the State, as before stated. Under the second 
constitution they were appointed by the governor and Sen- 
ate for four years, and appeals lay to the chancellor. Un- 
der the constitution of 1846 the office was abolished, except 
in counties having more than forty thousand population, in 
which counties surrogates may be elected, the term being 
first for four years, but by an amendment adopted in 1869, 


the term was extended to six years. Appeals lie to the 
Supreme Court. In counties of less population than forty 
thou.=and, the county judge performs the duties of surrogate. 

The court of common picas was continued from the colo- 
nial period by the first constitution, and under that instru- 
ment had a large number of judges, as high as twelve being 
on the bench at the same time in some counties. By an 
act passed March 27, 1818, the office of assistant justice 
was abolished, and the number of judges limited to five, 
including the first judge. The court was continued with- 
out material change by the second constitution, and expired 
with that instrument in 1847. 

The constitution of 1846 provided for the following 
courts : a court of impeachments, to take the place of the 
former tribunal of that nature, and composed of the presi- 
dent of the Senate, the senators, and judges of the court of 
appeals, or a majority of them. A court of appeals, organ- 
ized at first with eight judges, four chosen by the people for 
eight-year terms, and four selected from the class of justices 
of the Supreme Court having the shortest time to serve. 
By the article in relation to the judiciary, framed by the 
convention of 1867-68, and adopted by the people Novem- 
ber, 1869, the court of appeals was reorganized. In ac- 
cordance with the provisions of this article, the court is 
now composed of a chief judge and six associate judges, 
" who hold their office for the term of fourteen years, from 
and including the first day of January after their election." 
The first election of judges was in the year 1870. This 
court has full power to correct or reverse the decisions of 
the Supreme Court, five judges constituting a quorum, four 
of whom must concur to pronounce a judgment. In case 
of non-concurrence, two rehearings may be had, and if the 
non-concurrence still obtains, the judgment of the court be- 
low stands affirmed. The clerk of the court is appointed 
by the court, and holds his office during its pleasure. 

The Supreme Court, as it existed in 1846, was abolished, 
and a new one established, having general jurisdiction in 
law and equity. The State is divided into eight judicial 
districts, in each of which four justices are elected, except 
the first (comprising the city of New York), where there 
are five. The term of office, as originally established, was 
eight years, but the amended judiciary article provided 
that, on the expiration of the terms of justices then in 
office, their successors shall be elected for fourteen years. 
They are so classified that the term of one justice expires 
every two years. The court possesses the powers and exer- 
cises the jurisdiction of the preceding Supreme Court, court 
of chancery, and circuit court, consistent with the constitu- 
tion of 1846, and the act concerning the judiciary, of May, 
1847. The Legislature abolished, April 27, 1870, the gen- 
eral terms of the court then existing, and divided the State 
into four departments, and provided for general^ terms to be 
held in each of them. The governor designates a presid- 
ing justice and two associate justices for each department, 
the former holding his office during his official term, and 
the latter for five years, if their terms do not sooner expire. 
Two terms at least of the circuit court and court of oyer 
and terminer are held annually in each county, and as many 
special terms as the justices in each judicial department may 
deem proper. A convention, composed of the general term 

justices, the chief judges of the superior courts of cities, 
the chief judge of the court of common pleas of New 
York city, and of the city court of Brooklyn, appoint the 
times and places of holding the terms of the Supreme and 
cii'cuit courts, and the oyer and terminer, which appoint- 
ment continues for two years. The county clerks and clerks 
of the court of appeals are clerks of the Supreme Court. 


The constitution of 1846 provided for the election in 
each of the counties of the State, except the city and 
county of New York, of one county judge, who should hold 
the county court, and should have such jurisdiction in cases 
arising in justices' courts and in special cases as the Legis- 
lature might provide ; but should have no original civil 
jurisdiction, except in such special cases. The Legislature, 
in pursuance of these provisions, has given the county 
judge jurisdiction in actions of debt, assumpsit, and cove- 
nant in sums not exceeding $2000 ; in cases of trespass and 
personal injury not to exceed S500 ; and in replevin, $1000. 
The county court has also equity jurisdiction for the fore- 
closure of mortgages, the sale of real estate of infants, 
partition of lands, assignment of dower, satisfaction of 
judgments, whenever $75 is due on an unsatisfied ex- 
ecution, and the care and custody of lunatics and habitual 
drunkards. The new judiciary article (1869) continued this 
jurisdiction, and gave the courts original jurisdiction in all 
cases where the defendants reside in the county, and in which 
the damages claimed shall not exceed $1000. The term of 
office of the county judge, originally four years, was then 
extended to six years, upon the election of successors to the 
incumbents then in office, the new tenure beginning Janu- 
ary 1, 1871. 


Two justices of the peace, to be designated by law, were 
associated with the county judge, by the constitution of 
1846, to hold courts of sessions, with such criminal juris- 
diction as the Legislature shall prescribe. 

Special judges are elected in counties to discharge the 
duties of county judge when • required, by provision of the 
Legislature, on application of the board of supervisors. 

THE mayor's COURT 
of the city of Hudson was established with the granting of 
the charter of the city in 1785, and had the jurisdiction of 
the courts of common pleas. 


of Columbia county was first opened at Claverack, Jan. 9, 
1787. " The Cryer made proclamation, and the commis.sion 
for the Court of Common Pleas for the County of Columbia 
was openly read, also one additional commission for Justice 
Philip Rockefeller and Justice Bishop." The coroner's 
commission was " openly read" also in court, after which the 
crier made proclamation, and the court of common pleas was 
opened according to law, with the following presence : Peter 
Van Ness, first judge ; Peter Silvester, Peter R. Livingston, 
Henry I. Van Rensselaer, William B. Whiting, judges; 
Stephen Hogcboom, Samuel Ten Broeck, a.ssistant justices. 
There was no business on the docket ready, and the court 


adjourned " till 10 o'clock a.m. to-morrow." On January 
10 the court opened with the same judges, except Peter R. 
Livingston, and Isaac Goes appeared in place of Justice 
Ten Broeck. Jacob Radcliffe was formally admitted as an 
attorney to practice before the court, being the first so ad- 
mitted in this court. He was admitted on a license from 
the Supreme Court. 

Christopher Smith, Johannes Henricus, Andries Wyants, 
Peter Rooh, and George Sipher appeared before the court 
and pledged their fealty to the sovereign State of New York, 
" by the grace of God free and independent," taking the oath 
of allegiance under the act of April 25, 1786, for the natu- 
ralization of certain persons named therein. The third day 
the same presence as on the first appeared, and litigation 
began.. On motion of Mr. Gilbert the court rendered judg- 
ment in favor of Jinet Montgomery,* against Abraham 
Scott, for £42 and costs. In the case of Jonas Smith vs. 
John Barnard, on motion of Mr. Van Schaack, it was or- 
dered by the court that the record on a plea of title before 
Abraham I. Van Alstine, Esq., be filed. A recognizance 
in the case of Jonas Smith vs. JMichacl Brannin was ordered 
filed. In the case of Robert Van Rensselaer vs. Johannes 
Vosburgh, Killian K. Van Rsnsselaer, attorney for the 
defendant, confessed judgmant for £'J6 and costs, on 
which final judgment was entered. The fourth day 
no business was done. On the fifth day, John Bay, as 
attorney for Daniel hza, confesssd judginant in favor of 
James Roosevelt for £45 6s. and costs, and on motion of 
Van Rensselaer for W. E. Pratt, final judgment was entered 
on the same. Mr. Van Rensselaer confessed judgment for 
Hendrick Miller in favor of David Van Ness and Andries 
Heermance for £20 9s. id., and Radclifie, as attorney for 
the plaintiffs, procured final judgm3nt on the cognovit. 
Marks Platner, by his attorney, Gilbert, obtained an order 
of final judgment of £23 and costs against Jacobus Besse- 
mer. On this day the formal admission to practice as attor- 
neys before the court was entered of record of Killian K. 
Van Rensselaer, Peter Van Schaack, John C. Wynckoop, 
Myndei't P. Vosburg, Edward Livingston, Elisha Pratt, E. 
Gilbert, Thomas Smith, Jr., John Johnson, and John Bay, 
and rules of practice were also adopted, of which the fol- 
lowiuK is 

" Whercan, The Establishment of rules and order for the regulation 
of the practice of this Court is deemed highly necess.ary for the regu- 
lation and speedy advancement of Justice in this County of Columbia, 
Ii is therefore ordered by this Court that the following rules and 
orders be observed by all and every officer and minister thereof, and 
by all other persons in any wise concerned therein. 

" 1st. It is ordered by this Court that all processes that shall 
issue out of this Court be sealed with the seal of this Court [which 
has the figure of a man inscribed, with a mariner's compass in his 
hand, intended to represent Columbus, and has the words ' County 
Columbia' out round], and signed with the Clerk's name." 

The 2d, 3d, and 4tli rules related to the time for 
giving special bail ; 5th, bail to be excepted to after the 
declaration was delivered only " de bene esse." The 6th 
required a copy of the declaration to be served on the de- 
fendant's attorney or his clerk in the first vacation after 
filing, and the 7th allowed a noii pros, after the end of 

' Widow of General Richard Montgomery. 

the second term if no declaration was filed ; 8th, judgment 
for want of plea could be entered forty days after expira- 
tion of the rule for one ; 9th required an affidavit of 
merits in the plea of abatement; 10th and 11th, dilatory 
pleas and replications to be filed in forty days a/ler the 
return of writ or filing plea ; 12th provided for a judgment 
by default or nonsuit if the rules were violated ; 13th re- 
lated to notices for trial, a defendant over forty miles having 
fourteen days, and within that distance eight days', notice ; 
14th and 15th related to notice of countermand of trial and 
pleas in ejectment; IGth provided that no person should be 
admitted as an attorney of the court but upon examination, 
and unless they had had a regular education and produced 
a certificate or other sufficient evidence of good moral 
character, and had obtained a degree and received a certifi- 
cate or diploma from some college, and had served a regular 
clerkship with some attorney of this or the Supreme Court 
for at least three years ; and if they had not received a 
collegiate education, then the time of service as clerk shall 
be five years. But an admission into the Supreme Court 
entitled all persons to a license to practice in this court 
without an examination. An exception was made in favor 
of persons already entered as clerks requiring but three 
j'ears' service under any circumstances. The 17th rule re- 
quired a copy of the declaration to be served on the 
defendant's attorney, or no judgment could be had for 
want of a plea. It also required all rules for judgment to 
be entered " nisi causa sedente ostcnta sit curia " and mo- 
tions in arrest of judgment must be made at the same term 
as entered. The 18th and 19th rules related to writs of 
Ji. fa. and ca. sa., taxation of costs, and bail; 20th provided 
for notice in interlocutory judgments and writ,s of inquiry; 
21st and 22d related to defendants in custody ; and 23d re- 
quired non-resident plaintiffs to give security for costs. 

Mr. Van Rensselaer's docket contained for this term of 
the court nineteen suits wherein the sheriff's return was 
" a cepi corpus." Mr. Bay brought twenty-four suits, and 
appeared for the defense in nine ; Radcliffe brought two 
suits ; Mr. Gilbert brought sixteen suits, and defended four- 
teen ; Van Schaack had a single client, and Mr. Wynkoop 
had thirteen who prosecuted and one who defended. Mr. 
Pratt's docket had seven nonsuits. 

At the May term, 1787, Judge Van Ness, Peter Sil- 
vester, Peter Livingston, Henry I. Van Rensselaer, Stephen 
Hogeboom, and Isaac Goes were the judges. The first 
jury-trial was had at this term in the of Thomas 
Bightel vs. Hendrick Potts, Mr. Bay appearing for the 
plaintiff. The jury was composed of William Spier, John 
Bagley, James Elting, John Vanger, Johannes Kilts, Sam- 
uel Utley, Jr., James Van Deusen, Seth Toby, Charles Mc- 
Clean, Hendrick Clapper, Robert HoUenbeck, and William 
Hollenbeck. Eleven witnesses were sworn for the plaintiff 
and two for the defense. Two constables took charge of 
the jury when they retired to consider their verdict, which 
was given through Seth Toby, foreman, in favor of the 
plaintiff for £18 damages and sixpence costs, and judg- 
ment was entered on the same. Hezekiah L. Hosmer was 
admitted as an attorney on a certificate of clerkship of three 
years' service with Blr. Gilbert, and that Hosmer was of 
good moral character "as far as hath come to his, said Gil- 


bert's, knowledge." Messrs. Bay, Van Schaaok, and Addi- 
son were the committee who passed on Mr. Hosnier's 

Mr. Bay had the second jury-trial, which resulted in a 
nonsuit. In the case of Peter Van Ness vs. Hugh Chan- 
dler, the plaintiff being related to the sheriff, Henry I. Van 
Rensselaer and Aaron Kellogg were appointed elisors to 
summon the jury. Henry Van Rensselaer brought suit 
against the Dutch Reformed church of Claverack, and the 
matter was referred to James Bryant and William Powers, 
Esqs., and Thomas A. Hogg, merchant, to report on. 
Andrew Hunter was appointed guardian of Jo.shua Green, 
Simeon Wylie being his surety in the sum of £500. 

At the January term, 1788, Ambrose Spencer, Martin 
Van Buren, and James S. Smith were admitted to the bar 
on certificates of clerkship. Mr. Van Buren presented the 
certificate of John C. Wynkoop. They were examined by 
Messrs. Peter Van Schaack, Edward Livingston, and K. 
K. Van Rensselaer. Thomas Cooper, Augustine James, and 
Frederick Prevost, licensed attorneys of the Supreme Court, 
were also admitted. At the January term, 1789, the first 
insolvent debtor was discharged from the importunities of 
his creditors, the same being Nathan Rowley, Sr., who 
as.signed his estate to Oliver Mallery, under the bankrupt 
act of March 21, 1788. At this term a petition for the 
securing of Peter I. Gardenier's rights in the Kinderhook 
patent was filed, Mr. Van Buren appearing for the peti- 
tioner. The Gardenicr grant was for a tract fronting thirteen 
hundred paces on Hudson river, measured from Hendrik 
de Bruyn's grant north to the south bounds of Rensselaers- 
wyck,and running back into the woods three English miles. 
John S. Van Alen, John E. Van Alen, and Lawrence 
Van Dyek were appointed commissioners to partition the 


The fiist term of this court was begun at Claverack, 
Jan. 9, 1787, the crier making due proclamation, and the 
commission for the court being publicly read. The following 
judges occupied the bench : Mr. Justice Van Ness, Jus- 
tices Silvester, Livingston, Van Rensselaer, Hogeboom, 
Goes, Wiesner, Birdsall, CoflBn, Spoor, and Van Alen. The 
sheriff returned the venire of the grand and petit juries, 
the former being served on the following persons : Jacobus 
Van Alen, Peter Wynckoop, Abraham Van Beuren, John 
J. Van Alstyne, John E. Van Alen, Gideon Hubbard, 
Joel Pratt, Harmon Vosburgh, Evert Vosburgh, John A. 
Fonda, Marks Platner, Wm. Rockefeller, Abraham Bau- 
man, Abraham Patterson, Peter Hogeboom, Jr., Jochim 
Muller, Philip Frysbie, Hosea Beebe, Palmer Cady, Jesse 
Hollister, all of whom appealed, and were sworn as a grand 
inquest, the first one named being appointed foreman. 
Isaac Goes, Jr., and John Van Deusen also appeared, and 
were excused from service, and Samuel Allen and Wm. 
Van Ness were summoned, but defiiulted. 

The grand jury retired for deliberation under charge of 
Gilbert Turner and John Best, constables, and on the third 
day of the term presented to the court their first indict- 
ment, the same being against Jacob Haithaway ; and on the 
fourth day the jury brought in six more presentments, — one 
for grand larceny, one for misdemeanor, two for assault and 

battery, one for forcible entry, and one for deceit, — and were 
discharged. The indictment for deceit was against one 
John McLean, who, on his arraignment at the bar of the 
court, pleaded guilty, and was ordered into custody. Sub- 
se(|uently the clerk of the court (he being at that time the 
prosecutor, district attorneys not yet having been provided 
for) moved the court for the sentence of McLean, and ho 
was ordered again brought to bar, whereupon the sheriff 
informed the court that the prisoner had escaped. That 
officer was allowed until the next term to recover his pris- 
oner and produce him in court. Five recognizances were 
taken to the next term, and five like bonds were discharged. 
The two assault and battery cases were disposed of by pleas 
of guilty and a fine of ten shillings and costs on each de- 
fendant, and commitments until the same were paid. At 
the May sessions the case of misdemeanor was tried, and 
the defendant convicted and fined five pounds and costs, and 
committed until the sum was paid. The grand jury at this 
term found four indictments, — one for riot and assault, one 
for exorbitance and breach of the Sabbath, one for forgery, 
and one for assault and battery. The latter was against 
John B. Schuyler, who moved in propriu ])erso7ia to quash 
the indictment, making two objections, and being overruled 
by the court on both points, pleaded guilty, and threw him- 
self on the mercy of the court. After consulting Ezekiel 
Gilbert, that attorney took the conduct of the case, and 
moved the court for leave to withdraw the plea of guilty 
for precipitancy in pleading, and the haste of the court to 
overrule the objections inteiposed when there was good law 
to show the indictments were bad. The court allowed the 
motion on condition that the attorney " would pin himself 
down to the two objections the prisoner himself made on 
his first motion to quash the indictment," which were, first, 
that the caption of the indictment recited the " town of 
Claverack, and the body of it the district" of Claverack ; 
and. second, that it appeared from the indictment that the 
assault had been committed in the county of Albany. 
The court further stipulated that in case the attorney 
brought no law deemed sufiicient by the court to sustain 
the objections, then the plea of guilty should " remain 
and stand good." Schuyler was recognized to the next 
.sessions in forty pounds, with Wm. Cantine as his se- 
curity in twenty pounds; and finding at that term that 
eleven judges on the bench were too heavy a match for one 
defendant and a single attorney, he pleaded guilty, and was 
fined twenty shillings and costs. 

The indictment found against McLean for deceit was 
brought on liis forgery of a guaranty of Daniel Penfield 
for the payment for certain goods, to the amount of " five 
pounds eight shillings and fourpence." 

The indictment for exorbitant charging and Sabbath- 
breaking was found against a constable of Hudson, who 
charged an excessive fee on an execution against one Cherck 
Vielee, on which he, the constable, had taken the horses of 
said Vielee on a Sunday. 

An indictment brought from Albany, where it was found 
in 1782, recites the character of its subject in these words: 
" Being a person of ill-name and fame and dishonest con- 
versation, and not intending to get his living by tnith and 
honest labor, but compassing and devising how he might 



unlawfully obtain and get into his possession the monies of 
the honest subjects of this State for the maintenance oF liis 
unthrifty living, did present a certain forged and false tax, 
or assessment list, for military rates, and drew eight shil- 
lings thereon fraudulently," etc. 

Under the act of April 20, 1787, the general sessions 
appointed at the September term of that year highway 
commissioners for the several towns of the county, and at 
the same term indicted the Claverack bridge, in which the 
presentment recited " that from the time whereof the mem- 
ory of man is not to the contrary there was, and yet is, a 
common and ancient public highway, or road, leading 
southeast from the Court-house in Claverack to the town of 
Livingston," etc. In January, 1788, the highway com- 
missioners of Claverack and Hudson were ordered to take 
the bridge away before the first day of the next sessions, 
on pain of contempt. At the May sessions, Thomas Mer- 
ritt, blacksmith, and Stephen Atwater, gentleman, were 
recognized to the next oyer and terminer, at which court 
the blacksmith was fined forty shillings and the " gentle- 
man" ten shillings for assaults. 

Isaac Decker and his surety were I'cspited till the next 
sessions, in a bastardy case, to await results. 

In May, 1789, the sheriff protested against the insecurity 
of the jail, and it was indicted for insufficiency (?). In 
January, 1790, William Doran was indicted and pleaded 
guilty on a charge of horse-stealing, and was sentenced to 
receive twenty-one lashes on his naked back, to stand com- 
mitted till the co.sts were paid, and to leave the country on 
his release from imprisonment. At the 3Iay" sessions 
James Ley was indicted for larceny, pleaded not guilty, 
was tried and convicted, and sentenced to receive " thirty- 
nine stripes on his naked back, which was immediately 
executed." Mr. Van Rensselaer appeared at this sessions 
as public prosecutor. At the May sessions, 1793, Benoni 
Hunter was presented under sixteen separate indictments 
for petit larceny, and one for horse-stealing. His great 
weakness seemed to be an extreme partiality for mutton, 
eight indictments being found against him for .sheep-stealing. 
He gathered unto himself from his neighbors a complete 
outfit for an agricultural life, to wit : a heifer, flour, rye, 
wheat, fowls, and a coulter, and then a saddle and some 
buckles, to all of which takings he pleaded not guilty, and 
put himself upon the country for trial. His peers found 
him truthful in regard to the horse and six of the sheep, but 
said he was mistaken as to the rest, and found him guilty. 
For the two sheep he paid fines of "two pound ten each;" 
the heifer cost him thirty-nine lashes ou his bare back ; the 
flour, rye, wheat, fowls, and coulter cost him fifty shillings 
each; and the buckles proved expensive and painful orna- 
ments, representing thirty-nine stripes. He was also in- 
dicted for poisoning a colt, and found guilty; but judgment 
was arrested, because poisoning was not an offense at either 
common law or under the statute. 

Seven recognizances were estreated to the court of ex- 
chequer in January, 1794. At the November sessions, 
1795, Robert Dawson was indicted for forgery, pleaded 
guilty, and was sentenced to six months in the county jail 
and to stand one day, between ten o'clock a.m. and one 
o'clock P.M., in the pillory. At the January sessions, 

1798, the first sentence to the penitentiary was pronounced, 
the prisoner, for grand larceny, being sentenced to the 
institution for two years, and to remain in the county jail 
until the prison was finished. 

In 1797 the pounds, shillings, and pence of royalty give 
place to the dollars and cents of democracy. 

At the May sessions, 1802, Jacob Ilutsen Van Rens- 
selaer, as attorney for Elizabeth Kells, filed papers of 
manumission of " Nan," a female slave of said Elizabeth, 
under the act of April 8, 1801, and the former mistress 
was released from any liability for her former slave's future 

In 1803, Thomas Osterhoudt, a slave, confessed to a 
crime which the court certified could be properly punished 
only by transportation out of the State, and sentenced him 
to be so transported within thirty days by his master, or in 
default the slave should be imprisoned three years. 

In 1805, Nero, a slave, was convicted of petit larceny, 
and his master allowed a certificate to transport him from 
the State to a clime where the people were less fastidious 
as to rights of property, or where black flesh and blood 
commanded a qulil j^'V quo in the market. 

In January, 180(), the jail limits of the new jail in 
Hudson were laid off, and included an area of 130,600 
square feet. The limits included a line from "Stoddard's 
corner, on Third street, to the east line of Lot 9, between 
Fifth and Sixth streets ; from Hathaway's corner, on oppo- 
site side of Warren street, to east line of Lot 7 ; the court- 
house lot, jail, and market grounds; the lots of Samuel 
Stockings, Nathaniel Greene, James Vanderbergh, 'Squire 
Allen, Christopher Hoxie, Samuel Gamage, Obadiah New- 
comb, Seth Morton, Daniel Collar, Widow Burke, John 
Light Body Silvanus, William Whiting, Joshua Toby, 
Widow Hussey, that was, John Bennetts," and divers 
crossings connecting streets. The courts were firet held 
in the court-house in Hudson, at the January sessions, 

The first term of this court was held at Claverack, and 
was begun March 25, 1788, with the following presence : 
Robert Yates, " Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court of 
Judicature for the State of New York ;" Peter Van Ness, 
Peter R. Livingston, and Henry I. Van Rensselaer, " Jus- 
tices of Oyer and Terminer and general gaol delivery for 
Columbia County." Proclamation was made for silence, 
and the court was opened, and proclamation was made for 
" all justices, coroners, and other officers who have any in- 
quisitions or recognizances whereby the people are con- 
cerned" to present them to the court for adjudication. The 
sheriff' returned a venire of grand jurors, wlio were sworn 
and charged by the court, and retired to consider of their 
presentments. On the third day after the term the jury 
returned three indictments into court for horse-stealing, and 
the fourth day returned four more, — two for the like oflfense 
as the first ones, one for stealing a cow, and one for petit 
larceny. On the fifth day of the tei-m, John Davis was 
tried for and convicted of horse-stealing by a jury from 
Westchester county. Jacobus Krelenbergh was tried by a 



Columbia county jury for a like offense, and convicted the 
same day ; and on the sixth day Philip Jansen was tried 
for a similar theft, the verdict of the jury being " not 
guilty as to stealing a gelding of a black color, but guilty 
of stealing one of a hay color." The same day the grand 
jury returned three other indictments, — one for misdemeanor, 
one for theft of a bee-hive, and one against " Peter, a male 
slave, the property of Gerard D. Cook," for a theft of 
leather. The cow-stealer was convicted ; the bee-hive thief 
gave bail to the nest oyer and terminer, at which term a 
swarm of witnesses was likely to appear. Two indictments 
against Cornelius Chatterton were tried, resulting in verdicts 
of " not guilty." On the 2d of April, 1788, Jacobus Kre- 
lenbergh, Philip Jansen, and John Davis, convicted of 
horse-stealing, were brought to bar for judgment. " And 
it being demanded of them severally what they had to say 
why judgment should not pass against them respectively, 
according to law, they severally nothing said other than 
what they respectively before had said. Thereupon it is con- 
sidered and adjudged by the court now here that the said 
prisoners be severally, for the felonies whereof they are 
severally convicted, taken from lienQe to the place from 
whence they came, and from thence to the place of execu- 
tion, and that they there be severally hanged by the neck 
until they shall be respectively dead. Ordered that the 
above sentence be executed on the 30th day of May next, 
between the hours of ten and twelve of the clock in the 
forenoon of the same day, and that the sheriff of Columbia 
County cause execution to be done accordingly." This ex- 
ecution took place in accordance with the sentence pro- 
nounced. Peter, the slave, received " thirty-nine lashes on 
his bare back, from the waist upwards, at the public whip- 
ping-post," and the cow-stealer was treated to a like inflic- 

At the second oyer and terminer, in March, 1789, the 
bee-hive thief was again held to bail to the next term, thus 
experiencing what to him at least were the sweets of the 
law's delay. Notwithstanding the severe sentence of the 
horse-thieves at the first oyer and terminer, there were 
found five indictments for stealing, one for burglary, and 
three for assault and battery at this term. At the third 
term, held June, 1789, eight defaulting jurors were fined 
forty shillings each, of whom four were farmers, three 
esquires, and one " a gentleman." Hon. John Sloss Ho- 
bart held the term. The bee-hive man was tried, and by 
the surplus of honey in the tongue of his counsel, or the 
lack of sting in the jury, was found not guilty. At the 
December oyer and terminer, 1789, Henry McKinney and 
Timothy Jackson were indicted and tried for, and con- 
victed of, robbery, and sentenced, December 5, to be hanged 
December 18. Lawrence McDermod, prosecuting witness, 
received eleven pounds thirteen shillings for prosecuting 
the above prisoners to execution, Johannes J. Muller and 
Elizabeth Muller being the other witnesses for the State. 
Justice Yates presided, with Peter Van Ness, Peter Silves- 
ter, Peter R. Livingston, and Israel Spencer associates, at 
the trial of the robbers. 

In July, 1791, Peleg White, alias William Williams, 
was convicted on two indictments for larceny, and sentenced 
to receive thirty-nine lashes on that day (Saturday), thirty- 

nine more on Monday following, and thirty-nine more on 
the next Saturday, at the public whipping-post. " Guss," 
a negro, indicted for a rape at the May sessions, 1791, was 
tried in the oyer and terminer, and convicted and sen- 
tenced to be hanged August 26. At this term Coroner 
Peter Bishop returned an inquisition on the body of James 
Robertson, killed by the accidental discharge of a gun in 
the hands of Mathew Van Djusen, while pigeon-shooting. 
At the Djcember oyer and terminer Thomas Southward, 
Jonathan Arnold, John West, Abel Hackett, Ebenezor 
Hatch, Robert Boze, John Boze, John Rodman, Joseph 
Tiekner, and Jacob Virgil were indicted for the murder of 
Cornelius Hogeboom, sheriff of Columbia county. The 
first named. Southward, was indicted, as the principal, in 
the first degree, and the others, as accessories, in the second 
degree. These persons were tried at the February term of 
the court, 1792, and discharged, the verdict of the jury- 
being '• We find the prisoners at the bar not guilty, and 
that he did not fly for it," Andrew Klaw, Jacob Mont- 
gomery, and Gerrit Rowen were sworn as triers to try the 
jurors as to impartiality or favor. Judge John Lansing, of 
the Supreme Court, William B. Whiting, Adgate, Peter 
Van Schaack, Philip Frisbie, Israel Spencer, David Pratt, 
and Peter R. Livingston were the judges. 

At the October term, 1795, Justice Yates, and Greene 
and Silvester, judges, presiding, Jessap Darling, who was 
indicted at the Jlay sessions for forgery, was tried and 
convicted, and sentenced to be hanged December 18, 
"within two miles of the court-house in Claverack, on or 
near the road leading to Kinderhook." John Thompson, 
convicted also of burglary, was arraigned for sentence of 
death, but judgment was arrested, and the case taken under 
advisement. At the next oyer and terminer, held Sep- 
tember, 1796, Thompson was sentenced to be hanged No- 
vember 10 following. Judge Lansing pronouncing the sen- 
tence. At the same term Samuel Freeborn, a slave, was 
convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to confinement 
for seven years " in the State prison to be built in Albany 
county, and till the same be ready" was to be confined in 
the county jail. 

In June, 1797, Justice Morgan Lewis (subsequently 
governor of the State) presiding, David McCracken, in- 
dicted for forgery, was tried and convicted, and sentenced 
to confinement for life in the State's prison in New York 
city, and until the same was completed to be confined in 
the Washington county jail. Ambrose Spencer was attor- 
ney-general, and J. Rutsen Van Rensselaer and Elisha 
Williams defended the prisoner. 

In 1798 the first indictment for passing counterfeit 
money was found, and Nathan Kent, the prisoner, was 
convicted, and sentenced to State's prison for life. The 
June oyer and terminer, 1799, was held by Justice (after- 
wards Chancellor) Kent. D. D. Tompkins, afterwards 
governor of New York, hold the July oyer and terminer, 
1806, and sentenced Ben, a negro slave, who was convicted 
of a rape, and Dan Beathew, convicted of burglary, to 
imprisonment for life. Cassar Johnson, a black man, was 
transported for felony, in 1808. Daniel Burr, for sodomy, 
was sentenced to imprisonment for life, in 1810. In Octo- 
ber, 1812, John Prosser, for arson, was sentenced to a life 


imprisonment, and tlirce accomplices received a sentence of 
fourteen years' confinement. 

At the September oyer and terminer, 1817, Margaret 
Houghtaling, alias Peggy Don.'more, was indicted and tried 
for the murder of a child, of which she was convicted, and 
sentenced to be hanged Oct. 17 following, and was executed. 
The next execution was that of Joseph Brown, alias Joseph 
Barney, indicted Jan. 15, 18C8, for the murder of Angeline 
Stewart, alias Angie Brown, of Canaan, by burning her to 
death in a house which he set fire to. lie was tried in 
April, before Judge Eufus W. Peckham, Supreme Court 
justice, and James E. Christie and George S. Snyder, 
justices of sessions, and convicted, and sentenced to be 
hanged May 30, and was accordingly executed. Hon. Jonas 
Piatt, a justice of the Supreme Court, and L. M. Goes, R. 
I. Goes, and H. Dayton, commissioners of oyer and terminer, 
tiied Margaret Houghtaling. 

Smith A. Boughton ("Big Thunder") and Mortimer 
C. Bclding (" Little Thunder") were indicted, February, 
1845, for taking from the sheriff of Columbia county, on 
the 11th of December, 1844, certain distress warrants on 
the Livingston grants, and for such offense Boughton was 
tried at the March oyer and terminer. The trial began 
Marth 20, and the jury returned into court March 30, 
unable to agree upon a verdict, and were discharged. 
Fourteen witnesses were sworn for the people and thirty- 
one for the defense. The indictment charged riot, con- 
spiracy, and robbery. Hon. Amasa J. Parker, circuit 
judge, and Peck, Holdridge, Martin, Wilcoxson, and Clyde, 
judges, held the trial. Boughton was again brought to 
trial in September, 1845, before Judge Edmonds, as circuit 
judge, and associates as before. John Yan Buren, attorney- 
general of New York, conducted the prosecution, assisted 
by Theodore Miller, district attorney. James Storm and 
Ambrose L. Jordan defended the prisoner. The jurors 
were Peter Gardenier, f:\rnier, Kinderhook ; Bartlett V. 
Clark, merchant, Chatham ; Elisha Fingar, farmer, Ger- 
mantown; Benson Simpson, merchant, Hillsdale; Richard 
Van Alstyne, mechanic, Chatham ; Philander S. Gifford, 
farmer, Chatham ; James B. Van Valkenburgh, farmer, 
Chatham ; William A. Case, fiirmer, Chatham ; Abraham 
Van Dyck, farmer, Stuyvesant ; Jeremiah Manton, farmer, 
Stuyvesant; Abraham Raymond, inn-keeper, Ghent; and 
Philip Mickle, farmer, Chatham. Forty witnesses were 
sworn for the people, and forty-nine for the defense. The 
suit was called Sept. 3, and the time from and including 
that day to the 17th, also iiKilusive, was occupied in im- 
panelling a jury, but four of the regular panel being ac- 
cepted. The first witness. Sheriff Henry C. Miller, on 
whom the outrage was committed, was sworn on the 17th, 
and the testimony was closed on the 2Gth. Mr. Jordan 
commenced summing up for the defense on the evening of 
the 26th, and closed at five o'clock on the evening of the 
27th. The attorney-general opened for the people at half- 
past six o'clock P.M. on the 27th, and concluded at a 
quarter past four o'clock on Monday evening, the 29th. 
Judge Edmonds occupied three hours in charging the jury, 
who retired, under charge of four constables, at half-past 
eight P.M. on the 29th, and returned into court at half-past 
eight A.M. on the 30th, and reported their inability to agree, 

and were sent back. At half past eleven a.m. they came 
into court again, and returned a verdict of guilty. Bough- 
ton was sentenced to State's prison for life, but was pardoned 
by Governor Young, after a brief confinement. During the 
progress of the trial the attorney-general, Mr. Van Buren, 
and Mr. Jordan, attorney for the defense, indulged in a 
passage at arms, which resulted in the execution of the 
following order of the court: 

"Se]it. 4, 9 o'clock, a.m. — Ambrose L. Jordan and John Van Bu- 
ren having been severally guilty of disorderly and contcnjptuons be- 
havior during the sitting of this court, within the immediate view 
and presence, and directly tending to interrupt its proceedings and 
to impair the respect due its authority, it is ordered that the said 
Ambrose L. .Jordan and John Van Burin be imprisoned in the 
county jail of the County of Columbia for the space of twenty-four 

At the March term, 184G, five indictments against as 
many different persons were presented for appearing armed 
and disguised. These and seven other similar ones were 
nol. pros'd. in September, 1846, including the one against 

At the April oyer and terminer, 1824, there was a gen- 
eral time of felicity. The grand jury had no business, and 
filed a congratulatory report with the board of supervisors 
on the good morals of the county, praised the jailer, and 
condemned the roof of the jail, and commended the alms- 
house and city Bridewell of Hudson. Daniel Smith was 
the foreman, and Charles Esselstyne the clerk, of the grand 


was first held, for civil business, June 30, 1823, Hon. 
Samuel R. Betts, circuit judge, presiding. 


held a special term in Hudson for the first time, beginning 
July 7, 1847, for equity business, Hon. Amasa J. Parker 

The first judgment entered up in the courts of the 
county was by confession, Oct. 30, 1786. Previous to the 
first term of the court, so far as appears of record, there 
were judgments entered by confession amounting to £685 
Is. 8(^., and numbered thirteen in all; two of them entered 
by John Bay, three by K. K. Van Rensselaer, two by E. 
Gilbert, three by E. Pratt, and three by J. C. Wynckoop. 
The first one was in favor of Thomas Thomson, and against 
Jonathan Holeomb, for the amount of £32 damages and 
£3 14s. costs. The costs in the whole number of judg- 
ments amounted to £46 \d. 


held its first session in the fall of 1847, Judge John T. 
Hogeboom presiding, — the common pleas having been 
abolished from and af\er the first Monday of July, 1847. 

THE surrogate's COURT. 

The first session of the surrogate was begun at Claver- 
ack, April 18, 1787, Killian K. Van Rensselaer being the 
first surrogate of the county. Petitions for letters of admin- 
istration on the estate of Sarah Van Hoesen, of Claverack, 
deceased, were filed, and letters were granted May 2 to Cor- 


nelius Van Hoesen, of Coxsackie district, Albany county. 
Bonds in the sum of one thousand pounds, New York cur- 
rency, were given, with Justice Van Hoesen, of Hudson, 
and Lawrence Fonda, of Clavorack, as sureties. The let- 
ters are dated " in the eleventh year of freedom and inde- 
pendence," and run in the name of " the People of the State 
of New York, by the grace of God free and independent." 
The bond was conditioned for the returning of an inventory 
to the court of probates of New York, and the report of the 
administration to be examined and approved by that court. 
In, 1787, the condition of the bond of Angus Mc- 
Donald, as administrator of the estate of Rodolphus Ding- 
man, of Claverack district, was for the return of the in- 
ventory to the surrogate court of Columbia county, but the 
final report was to be made to the court of probates. In 
1802 administrators were under the full jurisdiction of the 
surrogate, all reports being returned to and approved by 
him, and wills probated also by him. 

The first will that appears of record in the surrogate's 
oflSce is that of Lucas Goes, registered Jan. 21, 1804. It 
makes specific bequests to relatives, and gives a negro boy, 
" Dick," then sixteen years old, to the testator's wife, while 
she lives, and then he was to be sold to " a good master" 
to serve until he was forty years of age, when he was to be 
free. The money the boy Dick brought by his sale was to 
go to two devisees named. The testator manumitted his 
slave Harr and his wife. The bulk of the estate was de- 
vised to sisters and brothers and their children. The exec- 
utors were a brother of the testator, John Goes, Jr., and 
his nephews. Jacobus L. and James I. Van Alen. The 
will was dated August 21, 1803, and witnes.sed by Myndert 
P. Vosburgh, John Pennoyer, and Lucretia Vosburgh, who 
testified to the due execution of the will, and the competency 
of the testator to make the same, before W. W. Van Ness, 
surrogate, Jan. 13, 1804. On the same day letters testa- 
mentary were granted to the executors named in the will. 

The second will was probated Jan. 27, 1804, the same 
being that of Zachariah Standish, a physician, who thus 
announced his faith in his ante-mortem statement : " Prin- 
cipally, and first of all, I give my soul into the hands of 
Almighty God, who gave it, and my body to the earth, to 
be buried in decent Christian burial, at the direction of my 
executors, nothing doubting but at the general judgment I 
shall receive the same again by the power of God." 

Andries Shirts, inn-keeper in Livingston, devised two 
negro women slaves to his wife and daughter, for their use 
during life, and on the death of the devisees the slaves to 
be free. Their own decease may have enfranchised them 
sooner. An old lady gave a son a pair of " old calico cur- 
tains which she earned while living with him," and the 
remainder of her property to her daughter, with whom she 
was living at the time of her death. 

The will of Johan Silbernagel, written in the Dutch 
language, was proven and recorded June 4, 1805. Its 
caption was as follows : " Diess ist mein wille und testament, 
und ich babe es bey volkomen Beweert seyn in Deutsche 
Sprache in Jahr nach Christte Gebert, ein tousand acht 
hundert und fienf, den achten tag Appriels." 

Letters of guardianship were granted to Nathan Gillett, 
guardian of Nathan Gillett, Jr., son of Elizabeth Gillett, 

of Chatham, Sept. 24, 1808, by Martin Van Buren, surro- 
gate, under the act of 1802 " authorizing surrogates to 
appoint guardians for infants." This was the first appoint- 
ment by the surrogate in the county. The general sessions 
had appointed before. The first assignment of dower was 
made, also by Mr. Van Buren, the same year, the same being 
that of Christina, widow of Hendrik Scheelt, deceased, of 
Claverack. John J. Rlesick, Harman Sagandorph, and 
John I. Miller were the commissioners. 

In 1801, October 16, the first petition for the sale of 
real estate of a decedent to pay debts was filed, the same 
being in the estate of John C. Miller, Jr., intestate. The 
order of sale was granted December G, under the act of 
March 27, 1801, " conferring additional powers on surro- 
gates," and was made by W. W. Van Ness, surrogate. 

THE mayor's court OP HUDSON. 

This tribunal, though local, was nevertheless for many 
years an important one in the county, and as such deserves 
a notice in this connection. It was instituted with the 
charter of the city, in 1785, and had civil jurisdiction only. 
For the past thirty years its chief business has been the 
naturalization of aliens. Justices' courts and the police 
court now take its place in its former jurisdiction. The 
court, prior to 1854, for a time was held by three justices. 
In the latter year the first police justice was elected, and 
from that time to 1872 continued to be elected, but since 
then the office has been an appointive one. The court when 
first established was held by the mayor, recorder, and alder- 
men, or any three of them, of whom the mayor must be 

The court opened for the first time, June 7, 1785, with 
the following presence : Seth Jenkins, Esquire, mayor ; 
Nathaniel Greene, recorder ; and Ezra Reed, William May- 
liew, Benjamin Folger, aldermen. There being no business, 
the court adjourned till the first Tuesday in July. At the 
July terra there were nine cases on the docket, John Bay 
and Ezekiel Gilbert being the attorneys in attendance. Or- 
ders in each case were entered for pleas in ten days, or, in 
default, judgment would be entered for want of same, with 
one exception, in which the plaintiiF was ruled to give 
security for costs. Andrew Mayfield Carshore was natur- 
alized in pursuance of the act of the Legislature to that 
effect. At the August term two cases had the same order 
for pleas : one fieri facias was returned by the marshal, 
who had seized thereon certain real estate, including the 
dwelling-house, store-house, shed, and brewery of John I. 
A. Moder, the writ being issued in favor of Cotton Gels- 
ton. A writ of venditioni exponas was ordered out on the 

At the September term the first jury trial was had, the 
jurors being Titus Morgan, Reuben Folger, Peter Fields, 
Shubael Worth, Dan Paddock, William Tunnicliffe, Cotton 
Gclston, Silas Bunker, William Hardick, Nathaniel Porter, 
and Elihu Bunker. Thirteen witnesses were sworn for the 
plaintiff, Thomas Denton, and five for the defendant, Jacob 
Barnard. The jury gave the plaintiff twenty-four pounds 
damages and sixpence costs, and judgment just was entered 
on the verdict, Mr. Bay appearing for the plaintiff. 

At the December term, Ambrose Spencer and H. L. 


Hosiner were admitted to practice in the court. A seal 
bearing the device of an anchor, with the legend " Hudson 
Mayor's Court Seal," was adopted as the seal of the court. 
David Van Schaack and Herman Pruyn took the oath of 
allegiance to New York, Sept. 5, 1786, and also James 
Brebner. K. K. Van Rensselaer was admitted as an attor- 
ney of the court at this term. 

In March, 1787, rules of admission to practice in the 
court were adopted, requiring of the applicant a certificate 
of three years' clerkship in the office of some attorney of 
the State, and also of good moral character. 

The courts of justice which exercise jurisdiction over 
the people of Columbia county, within the bounds of the 
federal and State constitutions, at the present time are as 
follows : 


Morrison R. Waite, Ohio, chief-justice, appointed 1874 ; 
Nathan Clifford, Portland, Maine, associate ju.stice, 1858; 
Ward Hunt, Utica, N. Y., associate justice, 1873; Wm. 
Strong, Philadelphia, Penn., associate justice, 1870 ; Joseph 
P. Bradley, Newark, N. J., associate justice, 1870 ; Noah 
H. Swayne, Columbus, Ohio, associate justice, 1862; John 
M. Harlan, Kentucky, associate justice, 1877 ; Samuel P. 
Miller, Keokuk, Iowa, associate justice, 1862 ; Stephen J. 
Field, San Francisco, Cal., associate justice, 1863 ; D. 
Wesley Middleton, of Washington, clerk ; William T. Otto, 
of Indiana, reporter ; John G. Nicolay, of Illinois, marshal. 
The court holds one general term at Washington, D. C, 
commencing on the second Monday in October. 


Charles D. Drake, Missouri, chief-justice, commissioned 
Dec. 12, 1870 ; Edward A. Loring, Massachusetts, asso- 
ciate justice, commissioned May 6, 1858 ; Ebenezer Peck, 
Illinois, associate justice, commissioned May 10, 1863 ; 
Charles C. Nott, New York, associate justice, commis- 
sioned Feb. 22, 1865 ; W. A. Richardson, associate jus- 
tice, Massachusetts, commissioned June 2, 1874 ; Archibald 
Hopkins, chief clerk, Massachusetts. 


for the second circuit (including New York, Vermont, and 
Connecticut). — Judges: Ward Hunt, associate justice, 
circuit judge, and the district judge. Terms of this court 
are held for the northern district of New York (including 
Columbia county) at Albany, second Tuesday in October ; 
Canandaigua, third Tuesday in June ; also adjourned term, 
for civil business only, at Albany, third Tuesday in Jan- 
uary, and at Utica, third Tuesday in March. Charles 
Mason, clerk northern division, office at Utica. 


for the northern district of New York. — William J. Wal- 
lace, district judge, Syracuse ; Richard Crowley, district 
attorney, Lockport ; Winfield Robbins, clerk, Buffalo ; 
Isaac F. Quimby, marshal, Rochester. The terms of the 
court are held as follows : Albany, third Tuesday in Jan- 
uary ; Utica, third Tuesday in March ; Rochester, second 
Tuesday in May ; Buffalo, third Tuesday in August ; Au- 

burn, third Tuesday in November. Special terms are held 
by appointment at Oswego, Plattsburg, or Watertown ; 
and a special session in admiralty at Buffalo, on Tuesday 
of each week. 


Sanford E. Church, Albion, chief judge ; term expires 
Dee. 31, 1884. Associate judges: William F. Allen, Os- 
wego, term expires Dec. 31, 1878; Charles A. Rapallo, 
New York city, term expires Dec. 31, 1884; Charles 
Andrews, Syracuse, term expires Dec. 31, 1884; Charles 
J. Folger, Geneva, term expires Dec. 31, 1884; Theodore 
Miller, Hudson, term expires Dec. 31, 1886; Robert 
Earl, Herkimer, term expires Dec. 31, 1890. Edwin 0. 
Perrin, clerk, Jamaica; F. Stanton Perrin, deputy clerk, 
Albany ; Hiram E. Sickels, reporter, Albany ; Amos Dodge, 
crier, Albany ; Andrew J. Chester, attendant, Albany ; 
Jeremiah Cooper, attendant, Lenox. 


The general terms of the third judicial department, 
consisting of the third, fourth, and sixth judicial districts, 
holden by Wm. L. Learned, Albany, presiding justice ; and 
Augustus Bockes, Saratoga Springs, and Douglas Board- 
man, Ithaca, associate justices. 


held in Columbia county, in the third judicial district, 
comprising the counties of Albany, Columbia, Greene, 
Rensselaer, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster. — Judges: 
Theodore Miller Hudson, term expires Dec. 31, 1884 ; 
Charles Ingalls, Troy, term expires Dec. 31, 1885; Wm. 
L. Learned, Albany, term expires Dec. 31, 1884; Theo- 
dore R. Westbrook, Kingston, term expires Dec. 31, 1887. 

Hon. Hugh W. McClellan, county judge, term expires 
Dec. 31, 1883 ; Levi F. Longley, clerk, term expires Dec. 
31, 1879; H. M. Hanor, sheriff, term expires Dec. 31, 


Hugh W. McClellan, county judge, term expires Dec. 
31, 1883; Philip Rockefeller, justice sessions, term ex- 
pires Dec. 31, 1878; Henry P. Van Hoesen, justice ses- 
sions, term expires Dec. 31, 1878; Levi F. Longley, 
clerk, term expires Dec. 31, 1879; John B. Longley, 
district attorney, term expires Dec. 31, 1880; H. M. 
Hanor, sheriff, term expires Dec. 31, 1879. 

surrogate's COURT. 

Isaac N. Collier, surrogate; term expires Dec. 31, 1883. 


the police court of that city, and the several justices of the 
peace in the towns of the county. 

THE board of supervisors. 

The board of supervisors, as the fiscal manager of the 
county, has come down from the "good old colony times, 


when the people lived under the king," and dates its be- 
i^inning in an act of the Colonial Assembly of New York, 
passed in April, 1691.* By this act it was provided that 
the freeholders of the colony should elect two assessors and 
one supervisor in their respective towns ; the former to as- 
sess and establish the rates on each freeholder and inhabit- 
ant, and deliver the list to the supervisor, who took it up 
to a general meeting of the supervisors of the county, who 
ordered the same collected by the constables or collectors of 
the several towns. The supervisore, as a board, also elected 
a county treasurer, who received and disbursed the funds 
for county charges. This act was repealed Oct. 18, 1701, 
and courts of general or special sessions, lield by the jus- 
tices of the peace of the county, or any five of them, were 
created, to make the necessary levies of taxes and audit 
claims, and certify the same to two assessors and a collector 
in each town for collection pro rata. This court also ap- 
pointed the county treasurer. On June 10, 1703, the super- 
visors were restored again and put in charge of the strong 
box of the treasury, and the courts of sessions relieved of 
the care of the financial interests of the county, and the 
supervisors required to meet as a board at the county town, 
annually, on the first Tuesday in October, and at such other 
limes as they might deem proper for the transaction of 
their business. The board received back again, also, the 
power of appointment of county treasurer, who was allowed 
a sixpence on the pound for his fees, the collectors getting 
ninepence for their fees of collection. The system of the 
supervisors has been continued under the several constitu- 
tions of the State to the present time. 

The first book of minutes of the board of supervisors of 
the county of Columbia is still in good preservation. The 
proceedings of the board at the first meeting are recorded 
as follows : 

"In pursuance of an act of the State of New York entitled 'an 
Act to divide the County of Albany into Two Counties,' passed the 
fourth day of April, 1781), the supervisors for the county of Columbia 
met at the house of Gabriel Esselstyne, in Claverack, and were duly 
qualified, on the first Tuesday in June, 1786 (June 6, 1786). Mem- 
bers present: John Livingston, Manor Livingston; Cornelius A^an 
Sohaack, Kindcrhook; Peter Wiessmer, Claverack; William Powers, 
Kings; James Bryan, Hillsdale; John Kortz, German Camp; 
Thomas Jenkins, Hudson. 

''The board nominated John Livingston their moderator. The 
board then proceeded to elect a county treasurer and clerk to the 
supervisors, when Walter Vrooman Weinple was elected to the two 
offices. The board then adjourned till to-morrow morning at eight 

" The supervisors met pursuant to adjournment. All the members 
as yesterday, except Mr. Wiessmer, present. The board then pro- 
ceeded to divide the quotas among the several districts, as follows : 
Itiiti". Quota. 

Kinderhook 241 4,820 

Hillsdale 125 2.500 

Kings 179 3,580 

Manor Livingston 544 10,880 

Claverack 162 3,240 

German Camp 48 960 

Hudson 162 3,240 

1461 29.220 

"The board resolved that fifteen hundred pounds (with the ad- 
ditional sum of nine pence in the pound for collecting) shall be raised 
towards building the county court-house and gaol (£1500). 

" The treasurer's bond for the performance of his office is deposited 
in the hands of Mr. Livingston. 

* Bradford's Ed. Colonial Laws. 

' Vou. No. 1. — The board agreed to allow Cornelius Fonda, 
for his attendance as messenger this setting £0 08 00 

' Vou. No. 2.— The board allowed Gab. Esselstyne for 
his bill of expenses 2 15 00 

' The board then adjourned till the 21st July r 

£3 03 Oi 
j'clock A.M.' 

On July 21 the board met pursuant to adjournment, the 
full board being present, except Mr. Livingston. Mr. Van 
Schaack was elected moderator pi-o fern. The following 
town accounts were allowed : 

-Election expenses, 1785-86 33 

Pauper relief. 38 

Lands and damages for roads.... 28 

Highway commissioners 13 

Supervisor 2 

aan Camp. — Elections... 

Livingston Manor. — Elections 

Pauper relief.. 

Claverack.— Elections 10 

Commissioners of highways 8 

Dr. W. V. Wemple!!...!... .!....".!.! 9 

-Pauper relief.. 360 

The apportionment of taxes for the year 171: 
follows : 

County Tax. District Tax. 

was a 



1635 10 

On Sept. 5, 1786, the supervisors met to divide a quota 
of £2300, under the act of April 29 of that year, the 
full board being present, except Messrs. Livingston and 
Powers. Mr. Jenkins moved to reduce the quota of 
Hudson, but the board refused to do so, and Mr. Jenkins 
entered his protest against the action. The quotas of the 
several towns were fixed as follows : 









Hillsdale 190 

Manor Livingston 856 

German Camp 75 

On Jan. 23, 1787, the board met again, the members all 
present except Mr. Powers. The trustees for erecting the 
court-house and jail asked for the remaining £500 allowed 
for the public buildings by the Legislature April 19, 1786, 

tS4088.75; $900.79; S49S9.54. 


and the same was voted accordingly, the apportionment 
being as follows: Kinderhook, £83; Hillsdale, £43; 
Kings, £61 ; Livingston, £18G ; Claverack, £55; Hudson, 
£55 ; German Carap, £17. 

At the May meeting, 1787, Clermont sent its first su- 
pervisor to the board, Samuel Ten Broeck. The board 
canvassed the returns of the election for members of the As- 
sembly under the act of Feb. 13, 1786. A vote was passed 
to allow assessors and supervisors six shillings per day for 
services. The first State tax was levied at the September 
session of the board, amounting to £2400 ($6000), dis- 
tributed to the several towns as follows : Manor Livingston, 
£637; Kings, £294; Claverack, £288 ; Clermont, £181 ; 
Kinderhook, £435; Hillsdale, £205; Hudson, £288; 
German Camp, £72. 

The total county tax was £157 13s. lOrf., of which Cler- 
mont's quota was £12. The town taxes amounted to £712 
4«., Clermont paying £13 9s. Collectors were required to 
return their bad debts within ten days of September 4, or 
be held accountable for the same, under act of April 29, 

On May 29, 1788, the board met to canvass the returns 
of the election for members of Assembly and for delegates 
to the convention to act upon the federal constitution, and 
also to divide £600 to be raised for court-house purposes, 
under act of March 14, 1788. In June £1250 additional 
were raised to complete the court-house and jail. On the 
13th of this month a settlement with the trustees of the 
court-house was had, and on their report £600 only were 
ordered paid for the completion of the buildings ; but the 
next board, in May, 1789, voted £600 more to complete the 
same. Among the contingent expenses allowed by this 
board, was a charge of eight shillings by the public execu- 
tioner for whipping a negro by order of the court. 

An amount of £7520 12s. 3d. was found due Albany 
county from Columbia county as arrearages on tax lists 
from 1778 to 1785, which amount was divided among the 
towns according to the quota they were then placed in. 
Fifty pounds additional for the jail were appropriated. 

In 1793 a settlement was made with the treasurer for 
the sis years preceding, and a balance of £100 10s. lid. 
found in his hands, the rest of the funds for the entire term 
being properly and correctly accounted for. He had, be- 
sides this, advanced on the taxes of 1789 £169 10s. M., 
which was ordered paid back to him. Two days " extra ordi- 
nary" were added to the accounts of supervisors of Canaan, 
Hillsdale, Kinderhook, Clermont, and Germantown, on 
account of the distance from the county-seat. 

In 1795 the first public-school moneys were distributed 
to the inhabitants of the county, and were as follows, with 
the number of taxable inhabitants : 

Taxable!. Disliil.utioii. 

£. a. rf. 

Livingston 853 302 12 (1 

Hillsdale 630 223 9 

Canaan 549 194 1" 

Claverack 449 159 6 

Hudson 411 145 18 

Kinderhook 387 134 16 

Chatham 321 114 1 

Clermont 175 62 1 6 

Germantown 100 35 12 

Total 3875 1372 12 6 

James Savage, the first supervisor of Chatham, came on 
the board this year, the taxes of the town being for its own 
needs £130 4s. 4d., and for county purposes £30 16s. Gd. 
The amount of money raised by the county for school pur- 
poses was just one-half the amount received from the State, 
to wit, £686 6s. In 1798 the currency was changed from 
the New York to the federal currency, dollars and cents 
taking the place of the pounds, shillings, and pence of the 
colony. The school tax this year equaled the amount re- 
ceived from the State, 81412.12. Andrew M. Carshore 
succeeded to the clerkship of the board on the death of Dr. 

In 1803 two new towns sent their representatives to the 
board, — Granger, now Taghkanic, Henry Avery, supervisor; 
and Gallatin, now Ancram, Nicholas Kline, supervisor. 
Granger had 343 taxable inhabitants, and paid taxes as 
follows: county, $98.30; town, $351.90. Gallatin had 
369 taxables, and paid county taxes, $102.96, and town 
taxes, $237.62. The total tax of the county for county 
purposes was $1730.63, and there were 4370 taxables in its 
limits. In 1805 the Kinderhook farmers began a sys- 
tematic warfare on the crows, and offered a " fo'pence 
ha'penny" for the bead of every thief of that family. 

In 1806 the board met in the new court-house in Hud- 
son. In 1807, " Guss," a free black man, had been fined 
for a misdemeanor and committed to jail until the fine and 
costs were paid ; but the term of imprisonment, owing to 
the impecuniosity of " Guss," bidding fair to be of an in- 
definite duration, the supervisors, <is the cheaper method, 
paid the fine and costs and thus saved his board. The 
military tax against non-combatants, the Quakere, of three 
dollars per poll, was levied for the first time in 1807, thei-e 
being four polls. The next year the number of polls in- 
creased as well as the amount of tax, there being twenty- 
five of the former at four dollars. 

In 1810 the mayor's room in the court-house was rented 
for a school-rocmi to Peter Mills, for the winter of 1810 

In 1813 the first equalization of assessments of real es- 
tate was effected as follows : from Hudson, Claverack, and 
Kinderhook, 25 per cent, of the assessors' returns was de- 
ducted ; from Chatham, 33J per cent. ; from Hillsdale, 
12 5 per cent. ; and from Granger, 50 per cent. To Ger- 
mantown 100 per cent, was added; to Livingston and 
Canaan 25 per cent. ; and to Gallatin and Clermont 50 per 

In 1818, Ghent and Austerlitz were first represented on 
the board, the former by Tobias L. Hogeboom, supervisor, 
and the latter by Jonathan C. Olmstead, supervisor. 

The first a.ssessment of Ghent, for the year 1818, and 
the tax-list for that year, were as follows: 25,471 acres at 
$22=$560,362 ; equalized, $915,631 ; personal property. 
$30,774 ; total a.«sessment, $946,405. State tax, $946.40 ; 
county tax, $473.44 ; town tax, $1285.05 ; collector's fees, 
$162.29; total, $2867.18. 

Austerlitz's first assessment was thus taxed : 22,051 acres, 
at $ 1 2=$264,6 1 2 ; equalized , $432,376 ; personal property, 
$10,715: total, $443,091. State tax, $443.09; county 
tax, $221.66 ; town tax, $786.76 ; fees, $87.09 ; total, 


In 1819, New Lebanon sent John King, its first super- 
visor, to the board, its first assessment and taxation as a 
separate town being as follows: 19,737 .acres, $367,692; 
equalized, $267,436 ; personal property, $10,549 ; total, 
$277,985. State tax, $277.98; county tax, $207.29; 
town tax, $1267.54; fees, $105.16 ; total list, $1857.97. 

In 1821, David Dunbar was appointed sealer of weights 
and measures, and $80 appropriated for standards. 

In 1823, Stuyvesant came to the county legislature in the 
person of P. I. Vosburgh, her first supervisor. The assess- 
ment and taxation of the new town were as follows : real 
estate, $464,583 ; equalized, $239,160 ; personal property, 
$52,750 ; total, $291,910. State tax, $291.91 ; county 
tax, $249.13; town tax, $937.59; fees, $64.55; total list, 

In 1824, Copake entered the board, William Murray 
being the first supervisor of the town. The assessment for 
the year was as follows : real estate, $387,197; equalized, 
$199,068; personal property, $20,190; total, $219,258; 
State tax, $109.63; county tax, $148.79; town tax, 
$1500.64; fees, $55.34; total list, $1814.40. 

In 1827 the movement for a county poor- farm and alms- 
house began, the details of which will be found elsewhere 
in this chapter. 

In 1831 grand and petit jurors were first paid for 
service in the courts, $2500 being raised for the purpose. 

In 1833, Stockport came in first to the board, George 
Chittenden being the supervisor. Its lands were assessed 
at $29 per acre, there being 6543 acres returned. Its real 
estate was assessed at $348,864, and equalized at $189,747 ; 
personal property, $82,588 ; total, $272,335. County tax, 
$556.76; town tax, $787.45; fees, $72.74; total list, 
$1416.45. $83 fur schools and $500 for highways were 

In 1835 the tax on the Hudson Whaling Co., for 1834, 
was refunded, $251.44. 

In 1836 the first sheep damages were allowed by the 
board, $297.37. 

In 1837, Greenport sent her first supervisor to the board, 
the same being Hugh McClellan. Its assessment and tax- 
ation were as follows : 11,165 acres at $18 per acre. Real 
estate assessment, $307,980, equalized at $200,970 ; per- 
sonal property, $72,300 ; total, $273,270. County tax, 
$614.28; town tax, $590.76; fees, $66.39; total, 
$1271.43. 34 dogs. 

In 1847 the board divided the county into two Assembly 
districts, pursuant to law, and recommended that the Legis- 
lature be petitioned to abolish the ofiice of superintendent 
of schools, declared the offices of county judge and surro- 
gate separate, and recommended the election of a special 
county judge and special surrogate. 

In 1851 there were appropriated for the inmates of the 
poor-house $132 for tobacco and snuff, besides the tobacco 
raised on the farm. The committee thought the amount 
extravagant and the articles useless, and if the practice of 
such allowances must be continued $50 per annum was 

In 1852 the clerk was rather poetical in his records, as 
the entry of an adjournment at the regular session seems to 
testify : " The committees spent some time in the examina- 

tion of accounts ; when the evening shades were about to 
prevail, an adjournment was had till morning." 

The list of members of the board of .supervisors is given 
in the civil list of the county. 


The first court-house erected in Columbia county was at 
Claverack. It cost about $9000 (£3600 New York cur- 
rency), and was built in 1786-88. It is now the mansion of 
Peter Hoffman. It remained the court-house until 1806, at 
which time a building was provided in Hudson, the county- 
seat having been removed to that city in 1805. Killian K. 
Van Rensselaer, the first surrogate, opened his office at the 
house of Dr. Joseph Mullins, in Claverack village. The deed 
of the site for the court-house at Claverack was executed by 
Gabriel Esselstyne, June 7, 1786, and conveyed the site to 
John Livingston, William Powers, Cornelius Van Schaack, 
James Bryant, Peter Weismer, Thos. Jenkins, and Johan- 
nes Kirtz, they being the board of supervisors of the county. 
The consideration was £20, and the deed was made under 
the act of organization of the county, April 4, 1786, which 
located the county-seat at or near the old church at Clav- 
erack. The premises were described as follows : " Beginning 
at a certain point on a course S. 52° E. distant 2 chains IS 
links from the northeasterly corner of the now dwelling- 
house of said Gabriel Esselstyne, running from said point 
or beginning N. 44° B. 4 chains, then S. 50° E. 1 chain 
71 links, then S. 44° W. 4 chains to the old church, then 
N. 50° W. 1 chain 71 links to the beginning." This deed 
was indorsed with receipts and '' livery and seizin made and 
given," and signed "Thomas Williams, Jun., Walter V. 

Probably the most intensely interesting scene ever wit- 
nessed within the walls of the old court-house at Claverack 
was that of the trial of Harry Croswell, of Hudson, for 
libel. In the year 1803 the Hudson Balance newspaper 
made a violent attack on President Jefferson, for which 
offense the editor, Mr. Croswell, was indicted for libel by 
the grand jury of Columbia county. The case was tried 
before Chief-Justice Lewis, at the February term (1804) 
of the Supreme Court, and was the occasion of the greatest 
public excitement, as well from the importance of the ques- 
tion at issue as on account of the high position and pre- 
eminent ability of the counsel employed. It was argued 
by Ambrose Spencer, attorney-general, on the part of the 
people, and for the defendant by William W. Van Ness, 

Harrison, and Alexander Hamilton. A correspondent 

of the New York Evening Post, describing the scenes of the 
trial, after giving an account of the plea of Attorney-Gen- 
eral Spencer for the prosecution, and the effort of Van Ness 
for the defendant, continued : " After all came the groat, 
the powerful Hamilton. No language can convey an ade- 
quate idea cf the astonishing powers evinced by him. The 
audience was numerous, and, although composed of those 
not used to the melting mood, the effect produced on them 
was electric ! ... As a correct argument for a lawyer it 
was very imposing ; as a profound commentary upon the 
science and practice of government it has never been sur- 
passed." The court, however, instructed the jury that the 
only question for them to decide was whether the alleged 


language had been published by Mr. Croswell, and that the 
question of libel was to be decided wholly by the court; 
and so, notwithstanding the brilliant defense, the case re- 
sulted adversely to the defendant. Five months after this, 
the brilliant Hamilton fell by the pistol of Aaron Burr. 

As a specimen of some of the amenities of those days, 
•we note an advertisement of Peter B. Ten Broeck, wherein 
he branded the surrogate Van Rens.selaer as " a coward, 
pus.sillanimous, and destitute of truth." The surrogate re- 
plied in terms no less emphatic and explicit, but notliing 
more came of the affair. 


In 1805, after much earnest and persistent opposition, 
the county-seat was removed from Claverack to the city of 
Hudson, the common council transferring the city hall to 
the county for a court-house, and voting also the sura of 
§2000 and a lot of land for the erection of a new jail, 
which latter was ready for the reception of prisonera in 
October of that year. It was the same building which is 
now occupied by the Hudson Gazette and Daily Register. 
The room which is now the business office of the editor 
and proprietor, Mr. Williams, is the same in which Mar- 
garet Houghtaling was confined after conviction of the 
crime of child-murder, and from which she was led out to 
execution on the 17th of October, 1817. 

Until the time when it was decided to remove the county- 
seat to Hudson the old city hall had remained in an un- 
finished condition, its upper story being divided into 
" chambers," as they were called, which were used as 
school-rooms and for other purposes, while the ground 
floor, originally intended as a meeting-hall, had been de- 
graded to inferior uses, and was then, or had recently been, 
occupied as a warehouse for the storage of hay and other 
coarse merchandise. When the building was completed, 
to be used as a court-house, it was remodeled, and its 
original arrangement reversed, to bring the hall, or court- 
room, into the upper story, and this was used not only by 
several of the religious societies as a place of worship, but 
for nearly all public gatherings, until after the completion 
of the present court-house, when it was vacated by the 
county and sold to the Presbyterian society. 

At a special meeting of the board of supervisors, held in 
Hudson, at the house of Philo Nichols, May 14, 1805, 
$1000 was appropriated towards building the new jail, and 
a committee appointed to sell the old court-house jail and 
W at Claverack for $2000 ; but the property was sold to 
St. Paul's church of Claverack for $1500, subject to the 
dower of the wife of Gabriel Esselstyne. This sum was 
also appropriated to the election of the new jail. 

Dr. Geo. Monell, of Claverack, and James Hyatt, of Hud- 
son, supervisors, were the building committee on the new 
court-house and jail at Hudson. The original cost of the jail 
was about $5000, as paid by the county. In 1809, $300 
was expended for new cells and $200 for repairs, and every 
year to the time the building was abandoned by the county 
sums varying from $100 to $500 were appropriated for 
repairs on the court-house and jail. In 181G a movement 
was inaugurated for a thorough repair of the court-house, 
or for building a new one, as deemed most expedient, and 

also to build a new fire-proof clerk's office, but it failed. 
This year the Baptist society was given the privilege of 
occupying the larger court-room for worship on Sunday. 

In 1820 another movement was made on the board of 
supervisors for a petition to the Legi.slature for authority to 
levy a tax for building a fire-proof clerk's office, but nothing 
came of it. In 1822 the movement was successful, the 
board signing a petition to the Legislature for leave to levy 
a tax of $1000 to build such an office, and the act was 
passed the same year. In 1823 the board resolved to build 
during that year, and a committee on plans and specifica- 
tions was appointed, the same being SupervLsors Bay, 
Dakin, Poucher, Jno. P. Beekman, and Van Deusen. The 
city was granted permission to erect an addition to the 
building for a city clerk's ofiice, and the building was to be 
located on the east end of the court-house square, with its 
gable-end on Warren street. The building was accordingly 
erected, and in 1826 a portion of it was rebuilt to make it 
secure and dry. In 1829 the judges of the common pleas 
called the attention of the supervisors to the miserable con- 
dition of the court-house and jail, and an appropriation 
of $75 was made for repairs. 

In 1833 a movement for a new court-house and jail was 
inaugurated, a committee being appointed on plans, cost of 
buildings, the amount of contributions Hudson would make 
towards the same, and their location. This committee was 
composed of Supervisors Mellen, Pratt, and Sanders, who 
reported, December 12, that the common council of Hudson 
offered to take the old county buildings and lots, at $7000, 
and appropriate $3000 towards new buildings, and procure 
warranty deeds for four acres, situate at the southerly ter- 
mination of Fourth street, for $1000, and guarantee the 
title to the county, provided the lot could be obtained, re- 
serving to the corporation the same privileges as in the old 
building. The board accepted the proposition, and agreed 
to proceed with the erection of the buildings at the next 
meeting if the council procured the deed for the lot. At a 
special meeting, called Jan. 8, 1834, resolutions ba.sed on 
the fulfillment of the proposition, or rather the security for 
its fulfillment, were passed to petition the Legislature for 
authority to raise $8000, by loan, to build a court-house, to 
be paid in four equal annual payments. John Sanders, 
James Mellen, and Lucas Hoes were the committee in 
charge of the matter of the petition, and Sanders, Mellen, 
and Pulver were a committee on conveyances between the 
corporation of Hudson and the county, and also to receive 
plans and specifications and proposals for the erection of 
the building. They were authorized to contract for its 
erection at a total cost not exceeding $18,000. At a meet- 
in" on Feb. 17, 1834, the question was raised as to the 
passage of the foregoing resolution for contracting for the 
erection of the building, but the board decided by vote that 
the same " did pass," and the action of the committee in 
advertising for proposals was sanctioned. Deeds were passed 
between the county and the city for the respective property 
of «ach, and the guarantees required of the city and the 
citizens of Hudson for the payment of the sum of $10,000 
were accepted by the board of supervisors. The plan of 
the building reported by the committee was adopted, as " the 
most economical, and properly answering the purposes of 



the County." The buildiug committee was appointed, con- 
sisting of John P. Mesick, John W. Edmonds, and James 
Mellen, who were given full authority to contract for the 
erection of the building, and to modify plans if they deemed 
necessary, but not to such an extent as to involve a total 
cost of more than f 19,500. Application was made to the 
Legislature for leave to raise an additional sum of S2500, 
and to borrow the same in advance of taxation for its pay- 
ment, from any source available, preference being made for 
such loan from the public-school fund. The action of the 
board relative to the erection of new public buildings was 
not accomplished without strong opposition. Out of this op- 
position a movement was begun looking to the erection of 
a new county from the .southern towns of Columbia and 
northern towns of Dutchess county, which movement was 
discountenanced by the board of supervisors, and the mem- 
bers of the Assembly from Columbia county were requested 
to oppose any attempt to divide the county. 

In 1833 the Legislature gave the requisite authority to 
the supervisors to erect the proposed public buildings, and 
Messrs. Mesick, Mellen, Edmonds, Van Valkenburgh, and 
Henry C. Miller were appointed commissioners under the 
act to superintend their erection. On the 20th of De- 
cember, the commissioners advertised for proposals for the 
construction of a main or centre building 48 feet front and 
59 feet to the rear, with portico and pediment across the 
whole front 13 feet wide at the base, with six fluted col- 
umns, and two wings 34 feet by 44 feet. The east wing 
to be built for a jail, and the west for a clerk's oflSce, com- 
mon council room, and jury rooms. The front of the 
whole building to be of Stockbridge marble, and the other 
parts of blue mountain limestone, the same being according 
to the plans of an architect named Rector. Three propo- 
sals were received, — one for $24,000, complete, by Addison 
Alger ; one for $22,200, including $1439 for sundry speci- 
fied items, by Reuben G. Jared and Richard Macy and 
Samuel Giffbrd ; and one from Burch, King & Waterman, 
for $20,735.52, from which certain specified items of fur- 
nishing were deducted, an alteration in plans effected, and 
the contract closed with the last-named firm, at $19,810.52. 

At the completion of the building the commissioners 
submitted an elaborate report of its cost, which was stated 
to be $26,211.51, including site of the building, and com- 
missioners' salaries, a barn, wood-house, fence, and side- 
walks. Mr. Miller, in his "Sketches of Hudson," puts 
the cost of the building at about $35,000. This amount 
may, and probably does, include subsequent appropriations 
for painting and finishing, and new work in the jail. 

The building is two stories in height, being sixty feet 
from the ground to the peiik, and is surmounted by a dome. 

In 1853, at the annual meeting of the supervisors, their 
committee made an elaborate report, condemning the jail as 
totally inadequate to comply with the law and the wants of 
the county, and recommending the erection of a new jail 
on the Auburn plan. That committee was Peter Poucher, 
H. W. Reynolds, Daniel Reed, John Miller, and J. H. 
Overhiser. A new committee, consisting of Messrs. Far- 
rell, Rhoda, and Fulton, was appointed to consult with the 
county judge and district attorney in relation to the neces- 
sary steps to be taken to make the jail conform to the stat- 

ute on prisons; $1431.95 was appropriated for repairs; and 
a communication from the superintendent of county build- 
ings was received, stating that the estimate of the committee 
on the county jail was extravagant, and that $10,000 was 
ample to build a jail on the plan proposed by them, and 
that the old one could be reconstructed for $3000. This 
communication was not received with the most friendly 
feelings by some of the board, and a resolution was offered 
censuring the superintendent for volunteering advice on 
matters foreign to his province, but it was tabled. A con- 
tract was made with the Albany penitentiary to hold the 
prisoners of Columbia county, which has continued for 
several years. 

The county judge, Hon. J. C. Newkirk, filed his opinion 
as to the necessary steps to be taken by the supervisors to 
comply with the law on prisons, and the committee there- 
upon reported in favor of building a new jail, the cost not 
to exceed $10,000, but their report was tabled. 

In 1856 the supervisors voted to purcha-se from the city 
the council-room in the court-house for $1500, and fit it up 
for the county clerk's use. The room was accordingly 
bought, and converted into a vault for the storing of the 
records, and for a recording-room, $900 being expended in 
the repairs and remodeling. A fire-proof was also con- 
structed in the building. In 1867 a committee appointed 
for the purpose reported plans for a new jail, 40 feet by 50 
feet, but nothing came of the movement. In 1872 another 
committee was appointed on the subject of a new jail and 
the conversion of the old one into a surrogate's oflSce, but 
no new building was projected, $2000 being appropriated 
for repairs and improvements on the old one. 

At this time a controversy arose betvreen the country and 
city members of the board of supervisors respecting the 
rights of the city to confine the city's prisoners convicted 
by the police court in the county jail. An elaborate report 
was made by Supervisor Sherman Van Ness, of Hudson, 
showing that the city became vested with such right by the 
original agreement to furnish a court-house, a lot for a jail, 
and make a contribution of $2000 towards the erection of 
the latter. In that agreement the city reserved the right 
to confine it.s prisoners in the county jail, and to hold the 
mayor's courts and council-meetings in the court-house, and 
when the new building was erected the same right was re- 
served in it by the city by the terms of the compact then 
made between the board of supervisors and the common 
council of Hudson. The controversy was finally amicably 
adjusted to the satisfaction of all parties. 

In 1874 a committee's report in favor of the erection of a 
new jail secured no favorable action. A similar report met 
the same fate in 1875, and the jail still remains undisturbed. 
It has been repaired from time to time, and remodeled to 
make it conform more nearly to the requirements of the 
statute concerning prisons, but it is neither adequate to the 
needs of the county, nor commensurate with its wealth, in- 
telligence, and humanity. 

The public buildings are beautifully located on the verge 
of a bluff overlooking the South bay and the majestic river. 
The park in front, formerly known as Wa.shington, but now 
as Court-House square, is covered with wide-arching elms and 
flanked by handsome residences. From the dome theie are 


grand and charming views of the Catskills in the west, and 
of the blue Berkshire hills, which bound the eastern horizon ; 
and, altogether, the surroundings of the Columbia county 
court-house are exceedingly beautiful and pleasing. 

It may interest the curious to know how much money 
has been expended by way of repairs and improvements on 
the two court-houses and jails in Hudson, and at much pains 
we have been enabled to state the amounts very nearly cor- 
rectly, having compiled the same from the proceedings of 
the board of supervisors from year to year. On the first 
court-house and jail in Hudson, from 180G to the building 
of the present one in 1835, the sum of $5450 was paid for 
repairs and improvemepts. On the second court-house and 
jail, from 1837 to date (1878), there has been paid the 
sum of $18,000 for such purposes. 


The first compulsory charity within the limits of the 
present Empire State was that which the act of the Colonial 
Assembly of April, 1691, provided for, whereby the towns 
of the colony were required to support their own poor, and 
whereby, also, safeguards were thrown around the system, 
to prevent imposition upon the authorities. The Assembly 
of 1G83 may have also provided for such support, and so, 
also, may have the Dutch burghers before that, but the first 
laws we find recorded on the subject are those reported in 
Bradford's edition of the Colonial Laws from 1691 to 1773, 
published in London, which gives the first act as passed in 
April of the former year. 

The Legislature in 1778 provided for the support of the 
poor by towns and cities, and later on for the building of 
poor-houses by towns and counties. Previous to the adop- 
tion of the poor-house system by Columbia county each town 
in the county supported its own poor, the county supporting 
such as were chargeable to no town, for lack of residence; 
and the records of the board of supervisors show annual 
appropriations in many of the towns for that purpose of from 
$50 upwards. 

Prior also to such adoption, the county poor were sold to 
the lowest bidder who would contract for their support, as, 
indeed, were the town poor also. In 1826 there were nine- 
teen paupers chargeable to the county, who were cared for 
in the different towns. In October, 1827, the following 
action was had by the board of supervisors relative to a poor- 
house and farm : 

" Uesolced, That it is necessary and proper that a County poor- 
house be established for the use of the County of Columbia, and that 
all the poor of the different towns, and the p.aupers, be sent to the 
same, the e.xpenses for their support to be paid by the County; and 
that the money be raised the same as the contingent expenses are now 
raised. And be it further 

" ResuheJ, That it shall be the duty of each Supervisor to submit 
the foregoing resolution to the respective electors of their towns at 
their ne.\t town-meeting, and take the sense of the voters thereon, 
and return the same at the next annual meeting of the board of Su- 

Subsequently the following action was had : 
" Resoh-eJ, That the clerk copy the petition on the subject of a 
county poor-house which has been presented, and transmit the same 
to our representatives in the Assembly, and at the same time inform 
them that the same was adopted with but one dissenting voice, and 
that he was in favor of the principle contained in the resolution, but 
could not vote for the same without consulting his constituents." 

At the annual meeting of the supervisors in 1828, a pe- 
tion was adcjpted for presentation to the Legislature for the 
passage of an act for authority to erect a county poor-house, 
and to send agents to Albany to procure the passage of such 
act. Messrs. Bushnell and Stebbins were appointed such 
agents. At this time there were fifty-one paupers charge- 
able to the county. 

On October 16 a committee was appointed to ascertain 
a suitable site for such poor-house, and to devise a plan for 
the same, and ascertain the expense and plan of government 
of similar institutions, and report at the next meeting of the 
board. The committee was Messrs. Bramliall, Patrie, 
Shafer, Tobey, and Power. 

On November 12 "the committee reported propositions 
received for a site, and a new committee was appointed 
to receive proposals for site, and to view and inspect the 
several farms offered." This committee was Power, Jordan, 
and Patrie. Five thousand dollars were appropriated and 
levied for the purchase of a site and towards the erection of 
a building. 

On December 11 the committee reported on several propo- 
sitions received for the sale of forms for a poor-house site, 
and the board being unable to agree, went in a body to view 
certain of the said farms the same day, but adjourned with- 
out purchasing. They met again Jan. 6, 1829, and appointed 
Messrs. Bramhall, Patrie, Van Buren, Power, and Shafer 
a committee with full power to purchase a farm, contract 
for a suitable building, and employ a person to take charge 
of it, with full power in the premises to do all things neces- 
sary to execute their commission. 

0;i February 9 this committee reported that they had con- 
tracted with John C. Hogeboom for a farm, containing about 
two hundred acres, at forty-five dollars per acre ; but proceed- 
ings in chancery were pending which involved the title to the 
farm, and the committee were thus prevented from consum- 
mating the contract " with the unanimity the subject re- 
quired," and consequently the committee report<3d the matter 
to the board and resigned their oflice. The board discharged 
the committee, and thereupon Mr. Hogeboom appeared before 
the board and •' satisfied the members that no apprehension 
need be had as to his title;" whereupon the board confirmed 
the contract with him, and Mr. Hogeboom delivered a war- 
ranty-deed for the farm, and received $1000 in part payment 
therefor, and a certificate for $7997.19 for the balance, due 
Feb. 15, 1830, with interest at seven per cent. Barnabas 
Waterman was authorized to expend $2000 in making the 
necessary alterations and additions to the house on the prem- 
ises for a poor-house ; and a committee, consisting of Messrs. 
Lawrence, Bain, and Van Buren, was appointed, and author- 
ized to employ a keeper gf the county poor-house, at a salary 
not exceeding $400, and to purchase furniture, farming 
utensils, and stock, and give notice to the several towns 
when the house was ready for the reception of inmates, 
the whole expenditures being limited to $2000. 

In 1829 three superintendents of the poor were elected 
for one year, viz. : Gayer Gardner, of Hudson ; Roswell B. 
Frisbie, of Canaan ; and Isaac Mills, of Chatham. The 
superintendents and a committee were authorized to pro- 
ceed forthwith to examine and report what alterations were 
necessary to be made in the poor-house, the number and 


kind of stoves necessary, and to report a plan of an addi- 
tional building, if one was deemed necessary, with estimates 
of cost. It was found that an additional building would be 
necessary, of the same height as the one then standing on the 
premises, sixty feet long, and that $1500 would be required 
to build it. The Legislature was again invoked for authority 
to borrow $5000 (and levy a tax to pay the same) to pay 
balance on the farm and put up the additional building. 
Jacob House was engaged as the keeper of the poor-house. 
In 1830, a committee appointed to visit the poor-house 
reported everything satisfactorily managed ; the paupers 
were clean and comfortably fed and clothed, and, what pleased 
them more than all else, they found " a mistress' school at- 
tended by small children, under good discipline and im- 
provement, and which they think merits their applause." 
Farm products were as good as could have been expected 
from the season ; " a handsome lot of hogs and beef cattle" 
were being fed, and " a handsome fallow to put in a winter 
crop of about fifty bushels was in good order ; good fences 
and some improvements had been made in clearing up, and 
guarding against the overflow of a stream on the premises ; 
and the committee (seven in number), from what they saw, 
came to the conclusion that the farm was prudently man- 
aged." They recommend the erection of a " mad-house," 
at a cost of $150, and the sinking of a new well. 

In 1829, $5000 was appropriated for part payment of the 
balance on the farm ; and in 1830, $5350 was appropriated 
to pay the balance due on the farm, and for the repairs and 
improvements made thereon, making the sum of $11,350, 
as the total cost to that date. 

In 1832 the boards of health of the various towns ex- 
pended $2179.77 for the prevention of the Asiatic cholera, 
hospitals being established in Ghent and Stuyvesant. A 
committee visited the poor-house unawares, but found no 
cause of complaint in its management. 

In 1831 the number of superintendents was increased to 
five, and in 1834 reduced again to three, against the pro- 
test of the county judges. In this last-named year the su- 
perintendents were authorized to erect a work-house, and 
make an inclosure for the same. They were also instructed 
to get one hundred young mulberry-trees, and a quantity 
of mulberry-seed, for the purpose of the cultivation of the 
silkworm and the making of silk, and in 1835 more mul- 
berry-trees were ordered. 

In 1850 the distinction between town and county poor 
was restored. In the amount expended for outside relief 
this year ($4109.21) there was a sum of $60 for high- 
priced liquors, mostly brandy, at $3 per gallon. Four 
hundred and ninety-eight paupers were cared for, the in- 
mates in the poor-house averaging two hundred and nine- 
teen during the year. There was one pauper to every 
twenty-six inhabitants in some of the towns. 

On July 2, 1857, the poor-house was totally destroyed 
by fire, and only the sum of $1573 Wiis received as insur- 
ance. On July 14 the board of supervisors voted to build 
at a cost of $10,000, and Messrs. Lippett, Carpenter, Pul- 
ver, Van de Carr, and Miller were appointed a committee 
on plans. Subsequently $9000 was added to the appro- 
priation. Philip Rockefeller, Jacob Conklin, and P. E. 
Van Alstyue, the superintendents of the poor, were in- 

structed to act with the committee of the board in the 
erection of a new poor-house, and a contract with Welch & 
Lamb was entered for the erection of the same for $15,493, 
and sanctioned by the board. The superintendents then 
assumed, or attempted to assume, control of the work, but 
the board of supervisors resisted, and taking the question 
into the courts gained their point and gave the management 
to the building committee. The entire cost of the new 
building ready for occupancy was $21,215.55, and it was 
finished early in 1858. 

In 1870 the barns on the poor-farm were burned, and 
rebuilt at a cost of about $5000 ; $998 was received as in- 

In 1875 an insane asylum was built, in connection with 
the poor-house, at a cost of $5000, which is constructed in 
accordance with the modern ideas of convenience, health, 
and wholesome curative discipline necessary for such in- 
stitutions. Movements are at the present time inaugurated 
to place the management of the asylum on a basis at once 
creditable and conducive to the comfort and possible recov- 
ery of the unfortunates confined within its walls. 

The poor-house, and its accompanying buildings, and the 
asylum are a credit to the county, and the spirit of liberal- 
ity and humanity with which they are managed speaks 
loudly for the charity and benevolence of the people who 
contribute to its maintenance and support. 

The amount paid for the relief of the poor, inside and 
outside the poor-house, since its establishment to the pres- 
ent time, as well as the amount paid for such relief prior to 
the erection of such poor-house, is, approximately, as fol- 
lows : From 1786 to 1812, both years inclusive, the 
amount paid by the towns and county was about $50,000, 
the larger part being paid by the towns. From 1813 
to 1828 the towns paid $132,250, and the county $17,019. 
From the establishment of the poor-house system in 1829 
to 1849 the amount paid for relief was $167,084, exclusive 
of the amount paid for salaries of superintendents of the 
poor-house. From 1850 to the present date, including the 
appropriations for 1878, the amount paid for relief in the 
poor-house, including the products sold and consumed on 
the farm, was $331,921. During the same period a sum 
of $107,559 was expended by the several towns of the 
county, exclusive of Hudson city, for the relief of town 
poor. The appropriations of the city, since 1850, have 
been from $2000 to $5000 annually for poor support. To 
these amounts paid by the county must be added the fol- 
lowing appropriations for other charities made since 1850 : 
for the State charities, $47,920 ; for the orphan asylum, 
about $15,000. From these amounts deduct the amounts 
reported as the products of the county farm since 1832, 
— about $75,000, — and the grand aggregate paid by the 
people of Columbia county for charity's sake amounts to 
the large sum of $800,000, besides the amount of Hud- 
son's contributions, which have been at least $100,000 

The last report of the superintendents of the poor-house 
makes the following exhibit: The total expenditures were 
$12,415.89; 722 persons were relieved; 149 were remain- 
ing in the house Nov. 1, 1877; 128 had been discharged 
during the year; 20 died: 425 were transient; 56,975 


days of board had been furnished at a cost per week of 
$1.54. The number of days' board chargeable to each 
town in the county was as follows : 

1 577 


Hillsdale ... 

2 778 












. 1 5S2 




1 412 




The stock, tools, and produce remaining on hand were 
inventoried at $4072. 


The Hudson Orphan and Relief Association was formed 
in October, 1843. A house was rented for $100 per 
annum, and a home opened under the charge and direction 
of a board of lady managers, and the same building occu- 
pied until 1847, in which year a building was erected by 
subscription ; an addition was made to it in 1853, the whole 
building costing $6000. A lot, seventy-five feet by one 
hundred and twenty feet, was donated to the association 
by Abner Hammond. The home was maintained, up to 
1850, solely by private enterprise. In that year and for 
three succeeding years the association received a share of 
the public charity fund of the State. The board of super- 
visors also, in 1852-53, appropriated $100. The institu- 
tion was incorporated in 1846, with Aaron C. Macy, Carey 
Murdock, Robert McKiiistry, Elihu Gilford, and Cyrus 
Curtiss as trustees. 

There were 31 children in the house Jan. 1, 1850 ; 34 
were received during the year, 10 were provided with 
homes, and 8 were taken by friends or relatives. From 
1850 to 1853, 79 children had been provided with good 
homes, and 45 were in the home in October of the latter 
year. The receipts for the years 1850-52 were $4421, 
and the disbursements for the same time were $3918, 
leaving a balance of about $200 after paying the indebted- 
ness on the building. On this showing by the managers, 
the board of supervisors appropriated $1000 to the asylum 
in 1853. In 1854 the same amount was appropriated by 
the supervisors, the other receipts being $1372.35, and the 
disbui-sements $2667.21. The receipts in 1856 were 
$3051.64, and disbursements $2210.12, and a permanent 
fund had been accumulated amounting to $4564.69. In 
1859 the fund had increased to $6183.09, and the receipts 
equaled the disbursements. In 1870 the receipts were 
$6504.10, and expenses $4869.10; in 1872, income 
$5382.16, expenses $4861.80; 1874, income $6145.71, 
expenses $5817.93; 1875, income $6599.53, expenses, 
$6399.50; 1876, income $6519.27, expenses $6386.58. 

The children of inmates of the county almshouse have 
been, since 1853, maintained in the asylum, the supervisors 
paying for their support at the average cost of maintenance 
of the children by the institution. The law now requires 
that such children shall be supported outside the poor- 
houses of the several counties. 

This excellent charity owed its existence, and for several 
years almost its entire maintenance, to the liberality and 
indefatigable eiForts of one noble woman, — Mrs. Robert 

McKinstry. Early and late, in season and out of season, 
and through discouragements of many kinds, she resolutely 
worked at her self-imposed task; and her unceasing devo- 
tion to the interests of the asylum only ceased when she 
passed to her reward. It is to her memory a monument 
more enduring than granite, and more beautiful than the 
costliest sculpture. 



The Colony— The Nation— The State — The Judiciary— The Senate 
—The Assembly— The County. 

Below we give the civil list of the county, — that is, the 
names of persons, resident within the pre-sent limits of Co- 
lumbia county, who have held civil offices, national, colo- 
nial, State, and county, with dates of such incumbency, — 
namely : 


Martin Van Buren, of Kinderliook, 1837 to 1841. 


Martin Van Buren, 1833-37. 


Martin Van Buren, 1821-27, and re-elected in 1827, 
but resigned. 


At the first election for President the State of New York 
chose no electors. The constitution of the United States 
was adopted by a State convention held at Poughkeepsie in 
July, 1788, the delegates from this county, Matthew Ad- 
gate, John Buy, and Peter Van Ness, voting in the negative. 
The electors chosen by the Legislature in 1792 met at 
Poughkeepsie. By an act of the Legislature passed March 
26, 1796, the presidential electors were directed to meet at 
the city of Hudson ; this act remained in force until the 
5th of March, 1813, when the Legislature directed the 
Electoral College to meet at Albany. 

The electors were appointed by the Legislature down to 
1825, when the district system was adopted by the people, 
but acted under for one election only, that of 1828, when, 
by an act passed April 15, 1829, the Legislature adopted 
the general ticket system as now in use. In making up the 
general ticket one person is selected from each congressional 
district, and two to represent the State at large. In 1872 
there were three electors at large, one for a congressman at 
large given the State before re-districting. 
1792. John Bay. 
1796. Robert Van Renssela 
1800. Thomas Jenkins. 
1800. Peter Van Ness. 

1804. Stephen Miller. 
1812. John C. Hogeboom. 
1812. Robert Jenkins. 
1816. Joseph D. Monell. 
1820. Edward P. Livingston. 
1824. Ale.xander J. Coffin. 
1828. AIe.\ander Coffin. 


18.32. Samuel Anabl 
1832. Edward P. Li 
lS3fi. Lucas Hoes. 
1840. Elisha Jenkins. 
1844. Tobias L. Hogeboom, 
1852. Lawrence Van Buren 
1856. Robert A. Barnard. 

1864. Charles L. Beale. 

1865. David Van Schaack. 
1872. John C. Newkirk. 

s N. P. Talmadge, United States Senator, 1833-1844, was bom in 
Chatham, Columbia oouniy. Ue was governor of Wisconsin Territory 
in 1845. 



The Federal constitution directs that a census be taken 
every ten years, and after each enumeration Congress appor- 
tions the representation among the several States. As soon 
as practicable, after each apportionment, the Legislature di- 
vides the State into congressional districts. 

The apportionment of New York has been as follows 
since the adoption of the constitution in 1788 : 

Years. Ratio. Representatives. 

1789 30,000 6 

1792 33,000 10 

1802 33,000 17 

1811 25.000 27 

1822 40.000 34 

1832 47,000 40 

1842 70,680 34 

1852 93,433 33 

1861 127,000 31 

1872 137,800 33 

The districts which have included Columbia county in 
their area have been as follows : Under act of January 27, 
1789, that part of Albany county now known as Rensse- 
laer county, Columbia, Clinton, Saratoga (1791), and Wash- 
ington. Under act of December 18, 1792, Columbia county 
alone composed one district, not numbered. Under act 
of March 23, 1797, Columbia and Rensselaer, district 6. 
Act of March 30, 1802, and March 20, 1804, Columbia 
was district 8. Act of March 8, 1808, Columbia, Rensse- 
laer, and Washington, as district 6, were entitled to two 
members. Act of June 10, 1812, Columbia county, and 
the towns of Rhinebeck and Clinton, in Dutchess county, 
formed district 5 ; act of April 17, 1822, district 8, Co- 
lumbia ; act of June 29, 1832, district 8, Columbia, 
Greene, and Schoharie, two members ; act of Sept. 6, 
1842, district 11, Columbia and Greene; act of July 19, 
1851, district 12, Columbia and Dutchess; act of April 
23, 1862, district 12, Columbia and Dutchess; act of June 
18, 1873, district 13, Columbia, Dutchess, and Putnam. 




, 1789.— Peter Silvester. 


1791.— Peter Silvester. 



1793.— Ezekiel Gilbert. 


1795.— Ezekiel Gilbert. 



1801.— John P. Van Ness. 



1803.— Henry W. Livingston. 



1805.— Henry W. Livingston. 



1807.— James I. Van Alen. 



1809. -Robert L.Livingston. 



1811.— Thomas P. Grosvenor. 



1812.— Robert L. Livingston.* 



1813.— Thomas P. Grosvenor. 


1815.— Thomas P. Grosvenor. 



1819.— James Strong. 



1821.- Walter Patterson. 



1823.— James Strong. 



1825.— James Strong. 


1827.- James Strong. 



1829.— James Strong. 



1831.— John King. 



1833.— Aaron Vanderpoel. 



1835.— Aaron Vanderpoel. 



1839.— Aaron Vanderpoel. 



1841.— Robert McClellan. 



1845.-John F. Collin. 



1851.— Josiah Sutherland. 

34th Cong 

1855.- Killian Miller. 
1859.— Charles L. Beale. 


A convention assembled at Albany, in June, 1754, for 
the purpose of uniting upon some scheme for the common 
defense against the encroachments of the French. Delegates 
were present from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connec- 
ticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, New 
York being represented by the lieutenant-governor and 
council of the colony. The plan for a political union drawn 
up by Franklin, and adopted by the convention on July 4, 
was afterwards rejected by the provincial Assemblies " be- 
cause it gave too much power to the crown, and by the 
crown because it gave too much power to the people." 
The convention of 1765, composed of twenty-eight delegates 
from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, 
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and South 
Carolina, to consult with common interest and procure the 
repeal of certain obnoxious laws, also failed. The New 
York delegates were Robert R. Livingston, Philip Living- 
ston, Leonard Lispenard, John Cuyler, and William Bayard. 

In the Continental Congress, the delegates from what 
was afterwards Columbia county were as follows : 

First Delegates. — Philip Livingston, April 20, 1775; 
Philip Livingston,t Robert R. Livingston, May 13, 1777 ; 
Philip Livirgston, Oct. 3, 1777 ; Philip Livingston, Oct. 
18, 1779 ; Robert R. Livingston (the chancellor), Sept. 12, 
1780 ; Robert R. Livingston, Dec. 2, 1784. 


Martin Van Buren, secretary of state, 1829 32. 

John C. Spencer, secretary of treasury, 1843-44; secretary of war, 

Benjamin F. Butler, attorney-general, 1833-38. 


Robert R. Livingston, minister plenipotentiary to France, 1801-3. 
Martin Van Buren, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipoten- 
tiary to Great Britain, 1831. 



William P. Van Ness, judge United States district 

district New York, 1812-26. 
Hezekiah L. Hosmer, Chief-Justice United States court. Territory of 

Montana, 1864. 
Benjamin F. Butler, United States district attorney, southern district 

New York, 1838-41, and 1845-48. 

Cornelius P. Van Ness.J collector of port of New York, 1844. 

In the State, Columbia has been thus represented : 

1828. Martin Van Buren. I 1874. Samuel J. Tilden. 

1830. Edward P. Livingston. 

t Signer of Declaration of Independence. 

X While a resident of Vermont, Mr. Van Ness was appointed (1829) 
by President Jackson minister to Spain. He was also, in 1816, one 
of the commissioners to settle the northeastern boundary under the 
treaty of Ghent. 



1777. Robert R. Livingston. 


1874. Theodore Miller. 


1763. Robert R. Livingston. 
1804. Ambrose Spencer (chii 

justice, 1819). 
1807. William W. Ness. 
18^0. James Vanderpoel. 

18.i7. Henry Hogcboom. 
1861. Theodore Miller. 
ISfi.-!. Henry Hogeboom. 
1867. Theodore Miller. 

1845. John W. Edmonds. 


The law officer of the State, whose duties have been sub- 
stantially the same since the creation of the office under 
the colony. Appointed under the first constitution, chosen 
by joint ballot of Legislature under the second, and elected 
by the people under the present regime biennially, each odd 

1802. Ambrose Spencer. 
1815. Martin Van Burei 

j 1845. John Van Burcn. 
I 1847. Ambrose L. Jordan. 


The office of auditor-general was created by the provin- 
cial convention of 1776, for the purpose of settling certain 
public accounts. In 1797 the office was abolished, and 
that of comptroller was substituted therefor, which was 
continued by extensions of two and three years until Feb. 
28, 1812, when it was permanently organized. Under the 
firet and second constitutions the office was an appointive 
one, but under the present organic law it is elective ; term, 
two years. The comptroller is the financial officer of the 

1801. Blisha Jenkins. 


1806. Elisha Jenki. 
1808. Elisha Jenkii 

1811. Elisha Jenkins. 

1813. Jacob R. Van Rensselaer. 


1789. Peter Van Ness. 
1792. William Powers. 

1797. Ambrose Spei 
1800. Ambrose Spe 

803. John C. Itogcboon 


1718. Robert Livingston. I 1768. Philip Livingston 

1812. Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer. 


1768. Philip Livingston. 


Peter Silvester, Elisha Jenkins, Martin Van Buren, Edward P. Liv- 

MAY 10, 1775. 

Peter R. Livingston, Robert R. Livingston, Jr., Walter Livingston. 


President of Fourth Congress, 1776-77,« Peter R. Livingston ; Mat- 
thew Adgate, Fourth Congress ; Gilbert Livingston, First, Second, 
and Third Congresses ; James Livingston, Third and Fourth 
Congresses ; Peter R. Livingston, Second, Third, and Fourth 
Congresses; Robert G. Livingston, Third Congress; Robert 
R. Livingston,t Fourth Congress; Peter Silvester, First and 
Second Congresses. 

R. R. Livingston. 


Convention of 1788 to act upon Federal <Vjii«fiV(irioii.— Matthew Ad- 
gate, John Bay, Peter Van Ness.* 

Convention of 1801.— Benjamin Cirdsall, Alexander Coffin, Stephen 
Hogeboom, Moses Trafford, James I. Van Alen, Moses Young- 

Com-enliou o/ 1821.— Francis Silvester, William W. Van Ness, Jacob 
R. Van Rensselaer, Elisha Williams.? 

Convention of 1S46.— George C. Clyde, Ambrose L. Jordan. 

Convention o/ 1867.— Francis Silvester, John S. Gould. 


1856. Hiram W. Di.xon. 


1863. James A. Farrell. 


1843. John W. Edmonds. 


1715. Robert Livingston, Jr. I 1752. Robert Livingston (third 

1721-32. Philip Livingston. lord of the manor). 

1738, 42-45. Philip Livingston. I 

1698-1701. Robert Livingston. | 1725-49. Philip Livingston. 
Under the first constitution this body consisted of twenty- 
four members, apportioned among four great districts, — 
eastern, southern, middle, and western. After the first 
election they were divided by lot into four classes, so that the 
terms of six should expire each year. This representation 
was increased whenever a septennial census revealed an 
increase of oiie-twenty-fourth in the number of electors, 
until the number should reach one hundred. In 1795 the 
number was forty-three. In 1801 the number of senators 
was fixed at thirty-two permanently, and has since remained 
unchanged to the present. The State was divided into 
eight senatorial districts by the constitution of 1821, each 
one being entitled to four senators, one to be elected each 
year for a term of four years. The constitution of 1846 
chano-ed the time of election of senators to each odd year, 
and reduced the term to two years, and created thirty-two 

• Ratified Declaration of Independence unanimously. 
t Member of committee to report State constitution. 
X These three delegates voted against the adoption of the consti- 

g These delegates did not sign the constitution of 1821. 


Senatorial Districts. — Columbia was a part of the eastern 
district from the erection of the county, March 4, 1796, 
when it was made a part of the middle district, and so re- 
mained until the second constitution was adopted. From 
that date to adoption of constitution of 18-16 the county 
was a portion of the third senatorial district. By the new 
constitution, Columbia and Dutchess was formed the eighth 
district. In 1857 the number was changed to the eleventh, 
and so remains at this date. 


1792-95. William Powers. 
1796-99. Ambrose Spencer. 
1797-1800. Peter Silvester. 
1801-4. John C. Hogeboom. 
1805-8. Stephen Hogcboom. 
1809-12. Edward P. Livingston. 
1813-20. Martin Van Burcn. 
1821-22. John I. Miller. 
182.3-24. Edward P. Livingston. 
1826-29. Ambrose L. Jordan. 

18.32-.'i5. John W. Edmonds. 
1838-39. Edward P. Livingston, 
1845-47. John P. Beeliman. 
1850-51. John Snyder. 
1851. Joseph Halstead. 
1854-55. Robert A. Barnard. 
1858-59. William G. Mandeville 
1862-63. William H. Tobey. 
1866-67. Edward G. Wilbor. 
1874-75. Benjamin Ray. 


The first representative Assembly that convened in what 
is now the State of New York was " The Twelve Men," 
under the Dutch rule, who were elected in Manhattan 
(New York city), Brooklyn, and Pavonia (Jersey City) to 
suggest means to punish the Indians for a murder they 
had committed. The first representative Assembly under 
English rule met at Hempstead, Long Island, March, 1655, 
but this could not be called a legislative Assembly, as it 
simply promulgated laws — " the Duke's Laws"' — prepared 
for such purpose. The first legislative Assembly was that 
of 1683, which was afterwards abrogated, and all the laws 
it had enacted, and that one of 1691 created, which con- 
tinued through the colonial period. Under the State au- 
thority the Assembly has always been chosen annually. It 
consisted at first of seventy members, with the power to 
increase one with every seventieth increase of the number 
of electors, until it contained three hundred members. 
When the constitution was amended, in 1801, the number 
had reached one hundred and eight, when it was reduced 
to one hundred, with a provision that it should be increiised 
after each census at the rate of two annually until the num- 
ber reached one hundred and fifty. The constitution of 
1821 fixed the number permanently at one hundred and 
twenty-eight, and members were elected on a general ticket. 

The constitution of 18-16 required the boards of super- 
visors of the several counties to meet on the first Tuesday 
in January succeeding the adoption of that instrument, and 
divide the counties into districts of the number apportioned 
to them, of convenient and contiguous territory, and of as 
nearly equal population as possible. After each State cen- 
sus the Legislature is to re apportion the members, and to 
direct the time when the supervisors shall meet for the pur- 
pose of re-districting the county. Pursuant to this pro- 
vision, the boards met in June, 1857, and in June, 1866. 
Hamilton and Fulton counties together elect one member, 
and every other county one or more. 

Apportionment. — 1786-1791, three members; Feb. 7, 
1791-1802, six; March 31, 1802-22, four; April 12, 
1822-46, three; March 8, 1846-78, two. 

Districts. — 1847-78, two districts in the county, — first 
district, comprising the towns of Ancram, Claverack, Cler- 
mont, Copake, Gallatin, Germantown, Greenport, city of 
Hudson, Livingston, and Taghkanic ; second district, the 
towns of Austerlitz, Canaan, Chatham, Ghent, Hillsdale, 
Kinderhook, New Lebanon, Stockport, and Stuyvesant. 


1716-28.— Robert Livingston, Sr. 
1728-37.— Gilbert Livingston. 
1737-59.- Robert Livingston (third lord ( 
1759-68.— Robert R. Livingston. 
1769-74.— Robert R. Livingston.® 
1774-75.— Peter R. Livingston. 

1778.— Gilbert Livingston. 

1780.— Matthew Adgate, Peter R. Livingston. 

1781.- Matthew Adgate, Philip Frisbie, Samuel Ten Broeck, Jacob 

1782-83.- Matthew Adgate, Jacob Ford, Samuel Ten Broeck. 

1784.— Matthew Adgate, Jacob Ford. 

1785.— Matthew Adgate, Jacob Ford. 

1786. — Lawrence Hogeboom, John Livingston. 

1787.— John Livingston, Wm. Power. 

1788.t— John Livingston, Wm. Power, Peter Silvester. 

1789.— Matthew Adgate, John Bay, John Korfz. 

1790.— Ezekiel Gilbert, John Livingston, James Savage. 

1791. — Matthew Adgate, Stephen Hogeboom, James Savage. 

1792.— Benjamin Birdsall, Jared Coffin, Jacob Ford, Lawrence Hoge- 
boom, Henry Livingston, James Savage. 

1793.— Matthew Adgate, Benjamin Birdsall, Jared Coffin, Philip 
Frisbie, Stephen Hogeboom, Samuel Ten Broeck. 

1794. — Matthew Adgate, John Bay, James Brebner, Dirck Gardenier, 
Matthew Scott, Ambrose Spencer. 

1795.— Matthew Adgate, John Bay, James Brebner, Philip L Hoff- 
man, Elisha Jenkins, Matthew Scott. 

1796. — Benjamin Birdsall, James Brebner, Patrick Hamilton, Ste- 
phen Hogeboom, Philip L. Hoffman, Samuel Ten Broeck. 

1797.— Caleb Benton, Palmer Cady, John C. Hogeboom, John Mc- 
Kinstry, Peter I. Vosburgh, Jonathan Warner. 

1798.— Caleb Benton, John C. Hogeboom, Killian Hogeboom, Elisha 
Jenkins, Samuel Ten Broeck, Peter 1. Vosburgh. 

1799.— Elisha Gilbert, Killinn Hogeboom, Charles McKinstry, John 
McKinstry, Peter B. Ten Broeck, Samuel Ten Broeck. 

1800.— Ezekiel Gilbert, Robert T. Livingston, Charles McKinstry, 
John Noyes, Anson Pratt, Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer. 

1801.— William Cantine, Asa Douglass, Dirck Gardenier, Ezekiel 
Gilbert, John Livingston, Elisha Williams. 

1802.— Thomas Brodhead, Josiah Holley, Henry W. Livingston, 
Samuel Ten Broeck, Peter Van Alstyne, Moses Younglove. 

1803.— Samuel Edmonds, Aaron Kellogg, Moncrief Livingston, Peter 

1804.— Benjamin Birdsall, Stephen Miller, Samuel Ten Broeck, 

James I. Van Alen. 
1805.— Moncrief Livingston, Peter Silvester, William W. Van Ness, 

Jason Warner. 
1S06.— Moncrief Livingston, Peter Silvester, William W. Van Ness, 

Jason Warner. 
1807.— Elisha Gilbert, Jr., Peter Sharp, Gains Stebbins, Anson Pratt. 
1808. — Thomas Brodhead, Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer, Jason 

AVarner, E. Williams. 
1809. — James Hyatt, Moncrief Livingston, Gains Stebbins, Jacob 

Rutsen Van Rensselaer. 
1810. — Thomas P. Grosvcnor, Henry W. Livingston, William Lusk, 

1811.- Thomas P. Grosvenor, Augustus Tremain, James Vanderpocl, 
Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer. 

» Declared disqualified, being a judge, and refused a seat, 
t First representation of Columbia county. From 1780 to 1786, 
inclusive, in Albany county. 


vcnor, Timothy Oakley, 


1812.— Thomas BroJhead, Thomns 

Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer. 
1813.— Aaron Olmstead, Alan Sheldon, Jacob Rutsen Van Re 

Elisha AVilliams. 
1814.— Henry Rockefeller, John L. Van Alen, Jr., Jacob Rutsen Van 

Rensselaer, Elisha Williams. 
1815.— Henry Livingston, Augustus Tremain, Jacob Rutsen Van 

Rensselaer, Elisha Williams. 
181C.— Henry Livingston, John Whiting, Jacob Rutsen Van Rensse- 
laer, James Vanderpoel. 
1817.— Gerrit Cuck, Hezckiah Hulburt, John Pi.tley, Elisha AVil- 

1818.— Thomas Bay, Benjamin Hilton, AValter Talterson, Peter Van 

1819. — Henry Livingston, Jonathan Lapham, Barent Van Buren, 

Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer. 
1820.- Thomas Brodhead, Azariah Pratt, John V. Van Valkenburgh, 

Elisha Williams. 
1821.— John Bryan, James Vanderpoel, Elisha Williams, Isaac B. 

1822.— Philip P. Clum, Elisha Gilbert, Jr., George T. Snyder, Au- 
gustus Tremain. 
182.'!.— Abraham P. Holdridge, Stephen Storm, John Van Deusen. 
1824.- Walter C. Livingston, John King, Joseph D. Monell. 
1S25.— Ambrose L. Jordan, Joseph Lord, Killian Miller. 
1826.— Jonathan Hill, Adam I. Strevel, Aaron Vanderpoel. 
1827.— Jacob P. Mesick, Isaac Mills, Simon Rockefeller. 
1828.- Killian Miller, Abel S. Peters, Elisha Williams. 
1829.— Abraham P. Holdridge, Henry W. Livingston, Peter Van 

1830.— Jonathan Lapham, Aaron A'anderpoel, Oliver Wiswall. 
1831.— John W. Edmonds, John S. Hiirris, Pliny Hudson. 
18.32.— Medad Butler, Tobias L. Hogeboom, Leonard W. Ten Broeck. 
1833.— Anthony Boucher, Bastian C. Lasher, John Murduck. 
1834.— Henry C. Barnes, John F. Collin, John Snyder. 
1835.— Jacob Shafer, Horace Stevens, Julius Wilco.xson. 
1836.— Charles B. Butcher, Peter Groat, Jr., Adam L Shaver. 
1837.— William W. Hoysradt, Rufus Reed, John S. Vosburgh. 
1838.- Abraham Bain, AVilliam A. Dean, William H. Tobey. 
1839.— Harry Cornwall, Henry Hogeboom, Peter R. Livingston. 
1840.— Robert McKinstry, Jonas H. Miller, Justin Niles. 
1841.— Waterman Lippett, William 6. Mandeville, John Milham. 
1842. — James Kniokerbacker, Jared AVinslow, Abraham I. Van 

1843.— Anson Brown, Lucas Hoes, Peter Poucher. 
1844.— William A. Carpenter, Uriah Edwiirds, Peter P. Rossman. 
1845.- Peter I. Bachman, Elijah Bagg, William M. Bunker. 
•1846.— William E. Heermance, Levi Pitts, Jeremiah Hover. 
1847.- John S. Gould, William M. Miller. 
1848.— Jonas H. Miller, Charles B. Osborn. 
1849.— James M. Slrever, Daniel S. Curtiss. 
1850. — Philip G. Lasher, John H. Overhiser. 
1851.— John D. Langdon, Philetus W. Bishop. 
1852.— Wesley R. Gallup, George Van Santvoord. 
1853.— Henry A. DuBois, Alonzo Chamberlain. 
1854.— Milton Martin, Harvey W. Gott. 
1855.— David Rhoda, Elisha W. Bushnell. 
1856.— Samuel Ten Broeck, Adam A. Hoysradt. 
1857.-^ohn Miller, John T. Hogeboom. 
1858.— David Miller, Lorenzo Gila. 

1859.— Henry P. Heermance, James G. Van Valkenburgh. 
I860.— Peter McArthur, P. Edward Van Alstyne. 
1861.— Samuel Lasher, Norton S. Collin. 
1862. — Jacob Ten Broeck, Samuel Wilbor. 
1863.— Peter G. Kisselbraek, Elias W. Bostwick. 
1854.— Amos Miller, Wright H. Barnes. 
1865.— Walter Shutts, Samuel W. Carpenter. 
1866.— Josiah Kniskern, John W. Van Valkenburgh. 
1867.— Jacob H. Duntz, Stephen H. Wenduver. 
1868.— H-irper W. Rogers, Stephen H. Wendover. 
1869.— Edward Sturges, Moses Y. Tilden. 
1870. — ^Edward Sturges, Daniel D. Barnes. 
1871.— Benjamin Ray, Perkins F. Cady. 
1872. — Benjamin Ray, Milton M. Tompkins. 
1873.— Benjamin Ray, Milton M. Tompkins. 

1874. — Henry Lawrence, Alonzo H. Farrar. 
1875. — Henry Lawrence, Alonzo H. Farrar. 
1876.— George H. Power, John T. Hogeboom. 
1877.— Jacob H. Proper, Samuel Wilbur. 


Walter Livingston, judge, 1774. 



Peter Van Ness, Kinderhook; appointed April 13, 1786. 
N.athaniel Greene, Hudson; appointed March IS, 1795. 
Jacob Ford, Hillsdale; appointed March 12, 1796. 
William Wilson, Clermont; appointed July 2, 1804. 
John I. Miller, Claverack ; appointed March 28, 1815. 
Daniel B. Cady, Canaan; appointed Feb. 18, 1840. 
Abm. P. Holdridge, Austerlitz; appointed April 23, 1841. • 
Julius Wilcoxson, Kinderhook; appointed May 2, 1846. 


. — Peter Silvester, Kinderhook; Peter R. Livingston, Living- 
ston ; H. I. Van Rensselaer, Hudson ; Wm. B. Whiting, 

. — Matthew Adg.ate, Canaan ; Stephen Hogeboom, Clavertick. 

. — Nathaniel Greene, Hudson. 

.—Jacob Ford, Hillsdale. 

. — John Tryon, Canaan. 

. — Jon.athan Warner, Canaan; Jared Coffin, Hudson: William 
Wilson, Clermont. 

.-Peter Van Ness, Kinderhook. 

.—Edward P. Livingston, Clermont. 

. — John M. Mann, Hudson. 

. — Hezekiah Dayton, Hudson; Ebenezer Soulc, Hillsdale; Mat- 
thew Dorr, Chatham; John I. Miller, Claverack; Wm. P. 
Van Ness, Kinderhook. 

. — Augustus Tremain, Hillsdale; Samuel Edmonds, Hudson. 

. — Judah Lawrence, Hillsdale. 

. — David Ludlow, Kinderhook ; Ezra Sampson, Hudson ; John 
Whiting, Canaan ; R. H. Van Rensselaer, Claverack. 

. — John S. Livingston, Claverack. 

. — David W. Patterson, Chatham; Lawrence M. Goes, Kinder- 
hook ; Wm. AVilson. Clermont; T. L. Hogeboom, Claverack ; 
Isaac B. Smith, Gallatin; James Plait, Hillsdale; J. C. 
Olmstead, Hillsdale. 

. — Robert L. Livingston, Clermont ; Richard I. Goes, Kinder- 

. — James I. Van Alen, Kinderhook; Seth Jenkins, Hudson. 

. — Robert A. Barnard, Hudson ; Henry Loop, Hillsdale. 

. — James Barton, Hudson; Wm. H. Wilson, Clermont; Medad 
Butler, Stuyvesant. 

. — James Vanderpoel, Kinderhook. 

.—Walter Pjitterson, Livingston. 

.—Tobias L. Hogeboom, Ghent. 

—Henry Hogeboom, Hudson. 

—John Bull, Jr., New Lebanon. 

— Julius Wilcoxson, Kinderhook. 

— Josiah Knapp, Jr., Hillsdale. 

—John Martin, Claverack. 

—Darius Peck, Hudson; George C. Clyde, Chatham. 

— Frederick I. Curtiss, Ancram ; Hiram D. Ford, Canaan. 

The constitution of 1846 abolished the court of com- 
mon pleas from and after the first Monday of July, 1847, 
and substituted therefor a county court and sessions, with 
a single county judge to be elected for the term of four 
years, and two justices for sessions now by law directed to 
be elected annuallv. 







Darius Peck. 


John T. Hogeboom. 


Darius Peck. 


Darius Peck. 


John Cadmiin. 


John C. Newkirk. 


Hugh W. McClellan. 



Wesley R. Gallup. 


Henry Shear. 

Cornelius Moul. 

Wm. Kipp. 


Wesley R. Gallup. 


John C. Sweet. 

Cornelius Moul. 

Geo. A. Kisselburg 


Wesley R. Gallup. 


Hampton C. Bull. 

Jacob Baringer. 

Geo. A. Kisselburg. 


Wm. H. De Witt. 


Henry P. llorton. 

Seth Daley. 

James E. Cristie. 


Wm. H. Hawver. 


James E. Cristie. 

Wm. H. De Witt. 

George S. Snyder. 


Edward Gernon. 


James E. Cristie. 

Elisha Moore. 

George S. Snyder. 


Elbridge G. Studley. 


James Dingman. 

Elisha Moore. 

Philip Rockefeller. 


Simeon M. Collier. 


James C. Ferguson. 

Seth Daley. 

Philip Rockefeller. 


Wm. M. Bunker. 


James C. Ferguson. 

John McKinstry. 

Philip Feltz. 


Richard Marvin. 


Richard Hallenbeck. 

James Dingman. 

Wm. Kipp. 


John C. Sw°eet. 


John H. Smith. 

Wm. Kipp. 

Philip Rockefeller. 


Wm. Kipp. 


Wm. W. Hoysradt. 

Jacob R. Hollenbeck. 

Abram Ashley, Jr. 


Abraham Lyle. 


Wm. W. Hoysradt. 

Philip Smith. 

Abram Ashley, Jr. 


Jacob R. Hollenbeck. 


John II. Smith. 

Abraham Lyle. 

John Busby. 


Henry M. Niver, Jr. 


Henry P. Van Hoeser 

Abraham Lyle. 

Philip Rockefeller. 






Killian K.Van Rensselaer. 


Joseph D. Monell. 


Philip L. Hoffman. 



Wm. W. Van Ness. 


Charles B. Dutcher. 


James I. Van Alen. 


Elijah Payne. 


Martin Van Buren. 


Robert B. Monell. 


James Vanderpoel. 


Charles Esselstyn. 


James I. Van Alen. 


Charies Esselstyn. 


Abraham A. Van Buren. 


Hugh W. McClellan. 


John Gaul, Jr. 


Herman V. Esselstyn 


Wm. H. Tobey. 


Isaac N. Collier. 

The State was divided into seven districts in 1796, in each of which 
an assistant attorney -general was appointed by the governor and 

The third district was formed by Columbia and Rensselaer counties. 

Ambrose Spencer, of Columbia, was appointed assistant attorney- 
general for this district in 1796. 

The office of district attorney was created in 1801 ; the State was 
divided into seven districts ; the third district was formed by the 
counties of Greene, Columbia, and Rensselaer. 

Thomas P. Grosvenor, of Columbia, was appointed district attorney 
for this district in 1810. 

Each county in the State was made a separate district in 1818. 

Appointed hy Court of Oa 

1818. Joseph D. Monell. 

1819. Thomas Bay. 
1821. Julius AVilco.\son. 
1832. Josiah Sutheriand, Jr 
1843. Theodore Miller. 

Elected hi) the People. 
1847. Robert E. Andrews. 

1850. John C. Newkirk. 
1853. William A. Porter. 
1856. David S. Cowles. 
1859. Francis Silvester. 
1862. Jaiues Storm. 
1S65. John M. Welsh. 
1808. John B. Longley. 
1871. Charies M.Bell. 
1874. Gershom Bulkley. 
1877. John B. Longley. 



Philip J. Livingston. 


Lawrence Hogeboom 


Cornelius Hogeboom. 


John C. Hogeboom. 


John Noyes. 


Peter B. Ten Broeck. 


S.amuel Edmonds. 


Barent Vanderpoel. 


John C. Hogeboom: 


Moncrief Livingston. 


John King. 


Reuben Swift. 


John King. 


Alexander Smith, Jr. 


James Warner. 



Samuel E. Hudson. 

Edward 0. Holley. 
John Pixley. 
Edward 0. Holley. 
Leonard W. Ten Broeck. 
Leonard Freeland. 
Abram F. Miller. 
Henry C. Miller. 
Jacob R. Hollenbeck. 
Abram F. Miller. 
William Best. 
Henry Waldo. 
Ezra Waterbury. 
Sherman Viin Ness. 
Whiting Sheldon. 
John H. Overhiser. 
Stephen W. Ham. 
William H. Van Tivssel. 
Henry M. Hanor. 

1720. Gilbert Livingston. 

1720. Robert Livingston, Jr. 




1828. Joseph D. Monell. 


Robert Livingston. 

1831. Joseph D. Monell. 


Robert Livingston. 

1834. James Storm. 


Robert Livingston. 

1837. Killian Miller. 


Philip Livingston.* 

1840. J. A. Van Valkenburgh 


Robert Van Rensselaer. 

1843. John I. Traver. 


Jacob R. Van Rensselaer. 

1846. James Storm. 


Kilian Hogeboom. 

1849. John R. Currie. 


Marshall Jenkins, Jr. 

1852. David C. Neefus. 


Ezekiel Gilbert. 

1855. David C. Neefus. 


Cornelius Miller. 

1858. Cornelius Bortle. 


Abraham B. Vanderpoel. 

1861. Henry P. Heermance. 


Cornelius Miller. 

1864. Edwin C. Terry. 
1867. Edwin C. Terry. 


1870. Edwin C. Terry. 


Justus McKinstry. 

1873. Henry B. Hall. 


Harmon Bay. 

1876. Levi F. Longley. 


W,alter Vrooman Wemple, of Claverack, was appointed treasurer of 
the county by the first board of supervisors in 1786, and held 
the office until his death in 1798. 

Elisha Jenkins was appointed treasurer Sept. 4, 1798, and re-ap- 
pointed in 1799, 1800, and 1801. 

Robert Jenkins was appointed in 1802, and was re-appointed in 1803, 
1804, 1805, 1806, 1807, and 1808. 

James Hyatt, 1809. 

Amariah Storrs, 1810-12. 

Abner Austin, 1813. 

Jonathan Frary was appointed in 1814, and held the office until 

James Van Deusen, 1825. 

David Rowley, 1826. 

Siliis Stone, 1827-29. 

Solomon Wescott, 1830-31. 

Robert McKinstry, 1832-36. 

Joseph White, 1837-45. C. Vosburgh, 1846. 

Silas W. Tobey was .appointed in 1847, and elected to the office 
in 1848, being the first treasurer elected by the people. 

Silas W. Tobey, re-elected 1851. 

Allen Rossman, elected 1854. 

Peter S. Wynkoop, elected 1857-60. 

■■■ Henry Livingston, of Livingston manor, then Dutchess county, 
was appointed county clerk in 1742, and held the office until 1799, 
when he died. 


Richard F. Clark, elected 1863. 
Peter Bogardus* elected 1866. 
Richard F. Clark.f elected 1868-71. 
Charles W. Hinsdale, 1873-76. 






Gajer Gardner. 


Philip I. Miller. 

Isaac Mills. 


William H. Coleman. 

Roswell B. Frisbee. 

Henry P. Mesick. 


Jacob Shafer. 

Philip I. Miller. 

Henry P. Mesick. 


William II. Coleman. 

Gayer Gardner. 

Henry P. Mesick. 

Roswell B. Frisbee. 

Philip I. Miller. 

Horace Stevens. 


William H. Coleman. 


Gayer Gardner. 

Henry P. Mesick. 

Henry P. Mesick. 

Philip \. Miller. 

Jacob Shafer. 


William H. Coleman. 

Ahni. Macy. 

Henry P. Mesick. 


Gnycr Gardner. 

Philip L Miller. 

Henry P. Mesick. 


Philip I. Miller. 

Horace Stevens. 

Peter Groat, Jr. 


Gayer Gardner. 


Philip I. Miller. 

George Lawrence. 

Stephen W. Miller. 


Henry P. Mesick. 

Peter Groat, Jr. 

Gayer Gardner. 


William R. Macy. 

George Lawrence. 

Sylvanus Hand. 


AVilliam H. Coleman. 

William Nash. 

Henry P. Mesick. 


Frederick W. Everest. 

George Lawrence. 

William A. Carpenter 


George Lawrence. 

Philip r. Miller. 

William H. Coleman. 


Harvey W. Gott. 

Philip L Miller. 

Henry B. Van Deusen 


William 11. Coleman. 
Henry P. Mesick. 



Henry Hare. 


Harvey W. Gott. 


Joshua Gardner. 

Edmund Hatfield. 


Norman Van Bramer. 

John S. Fulton. 


Seymour A. Tracy. 


Philip W. Pulver. 


Asa Hoag. 


David K. Tripp. 


Benoni Sherman (2d). 


William R. Mesick. 


Samuel Shutts. 


Alexander Pullman. 


Asa Hoag.t 


Cyrus Groat. 


Fyler D. Sweet. 


Philip Rockefeller. 

Henry M. Hanor. 


Jacob Conklin. 


Samuel L. Myers. 


P. Edward Van Alstyne. 


William L Holsapple. 


Jacob I. Miller. 

Roland W. Macy. 


Philip P. Groat. 


Charles A. Schilling. 


Henry Hoysradt. 


Cyrus Link. 


Sylvester Becker. 

Ephraim Kendall. 


Hugh Van Alstyne. 


Philip Niver. 


The act creating the office of deputy superintendent of 
common schools was passed May 26, 1841, and continued 
in force until Nov. 13, 1847, when it was repealed. The 
appointments were made by the board of supervisors. 

1841. David G. Woodii 
1843. David G. Woodii 

1845. Henry H. Pouche 
1847. Peter Bonesteel. 

The office of school commissioner was created by an act 
of the Legislature passed April 12, 1856 ; the first appoint- 
ments were made by the board of supervisors. 

1st District, 1856.— Charles S. Jones. 
2d " 1856.— Peter I. Philip. 

« Died April 2, 1868. Richard F. Clark appointed to fill vacancy. 
t Resigned Dec. 31, 1872. Charles W. Hinsdale appointed to fill 

District, 1857.— Nathan S. Post. 

1857.— Peter I. Philip. 

I860.— Hartwill Reynolds. 

18G0.— Peter I. Philip. 
" 1863.— Hartwill Reynolds. 

1863.— David G. Woodin. 

1806.— William P. Snyder. 
" 1866.— David G. Woodin. 
" 1869.— Hiram K. Smith. 
" 1869. -Hiram Winslow. 
" 1872 — John Strever. 

1872.— Hiram Winslow. 
" 1875.— Richard M. Whitbeck. 
" 1875. — Isaac Van Valkenburgh. 

1876.— Richard M. Whitbeck. 
" 1876.— Isaac Van Valkenburgh. 



Wm. H. Wilson. 


Abraham P. Holdridge. 

Thomas Beekman. 


Harvey W. Gott. 

John Rowley. 


William Kip. 


Wm. H. Wilson. 


John Rowley. 

Benajah Conant. 


Sherman Van Ness. 


George H. Rockefeller. 


Peter P. Rossman. 


John M. Welch. 
William Kip. 


Wm. G. Mandcville. 



Henry Hogeboom. 


Robert G. Frary. 

Peter I. Hoes. 

Abraham P. Holdridge 


Hugh McClellan. 


Hiram W. Dixon. 

Henry Baker. 

Henry S. Van de Carr. 


Wm. E. Heermance. 


Robert G. Frary. 

John Vandcrpoel. 

Henry S. Van de Carr. 


Wm. E. Heermance. 


Lemuel Holmes. 

John Vandcrpoel. 


William Bryan. 


Robert G. Frary. 

Henry S. Van de Carr. 

Abraham P. lloldridge. 


William Bryan. 


Robert G. Frary. 

Henry S. Van de Carr. 

Abraham P. Holdridge. 


Lemuel Holmes. 


Robert G. Frary. 

Jacob S.,Bump. 

Abraham P. Holdridge. 


Cyrus Groat. 


Robert G. Frary. 

William Bryan. 

Abraham P. Holdridge. 


Chester Miller. 
Cyrus Groat. 

X Resi. 

869. John M. Cameron appointed 

1833. Russell G. Dorr. 1 1845. Thomas K. Baker. 


1787._Matthew Adgate, Kings; Cornelius Van Shaack, Kinder- 
hook ; John Livingston, Livingston ; James Bryan, Hills- 
dale ; Stephen Hogeboom, Claverack ; Samuel Ten Broeck, 
Clermont; Henry I. Van Rensselaer, Hudson: John Kortz, 
Germantown. Matthew Adgate, moderator; Walter V. 
Wemple, clerk. 

1788.— Matthew Adgate, Canaan; James Bryan, Hillsdale; John 
Kortz, Germantown; Henry I. Van Rensselaer, Hudson; 
Stephen Hogeboom, Claverack ; Evert Vosburgh, Kinder- 
hook ; Samuel Ten Broeck, Clermont ; William Rockefeller, 
Livingston. Matthew Adgate, moderator; Walter V. Wem- 
ple, clerk. 

1789.— William Powers, Canaan ; Thomas Jenkins, Hudson ; Samuel 
Ten Broeck, Clermont; James Bryan, Hillsdale; Stephen 
Hogeboom, Claverack ; John Livingston, Livingston ; John 
Kortz, Germantown; Evert Vosburgh, Kinderhook. William 
Powers, moderator; Walter V. Wemple, clerk. 

1790.— William Powers, Canaan; Thomas Jenkins, Hudson ; Samuel 
Ten Broeck, Clermont; James Bryan, Hillsdale; Stephen 
Hogeboom, Claverack ; Evert Vosburgh, Kinderhook ; John 
A. Fonda, Livingston; Nicholas Kierstcad, Germantown. 
Wm. Powers, moderator; Walter V. Wemple, clerk. 

1791.— Thomas Jenkins, Hudson ; Henry Livingston, Livingston ; 
Charles McKinstry, Hillsdale; Samuel Ten Broeck, Cler- 



mont ; George Monell, Claveraok ; Nicholas Kierslead, 
Germantown ; Jonathan Warner, Canaan ; Evert Vosburgh, 
Kinderhook. Thomas Jenkins, moderator; Walter V. 
Wemple, clerk. 
1792.— Henry Livingston, Livingston; George Monell, Claverack; 
John Thurston, Hudson; Evert Vosburgh, Kinderhook; 
Samuel Ten Broeck, Clermont; Nicholas Kierstead, Ger- 
mantown: Charles McKinstry, Hillsdale; Elisha Gilbert, 
Canaan. Evert Vosburgh, moderator; Walter V. Wemple, 
1793.— Stephen Paddock. Hudson; Evert Vosburgh, Kinderhook; 
Patrick Hamilton, Canaan; Martin J. Cooper, Clermont ; 
Philip L. Hoffman, Livingston; Peter Scharp, German- 
town; Charles McKinstry, Hillsdale; George Monell, 
Claverack. Stephen Paddock, moderator; Walter V. 
Wemple, clerk. 
1794.— Stephen Paddock, Hudson; Philip L. Hoffman, Livingston ; 
Evert Vosburgh, Kinderhook; Charles McKinstry, Hills- 
dale ; Patrick Hamilton, Canaan ; Nicholas Kierstead, 
Germantown; Samuel Ten Broeck, Clermont; George 
Monell, Claverack. Stephen Paddock, moderator; Walter 
V. Wemple, clerk. 
1795.— Stephen Paddock, Hudson; Evert Vosburgh, Kinderhook; 
George Monell, Claverack; Charles McKinstry, Hillsdale; 
Samuel Ten Broeck, Clermont; John A. Fonda, Living- 
ston; Aaron Kellogg, Canaan; Philip Rockefeller, Ger- 
mantown; James Savage, Chatham. Stephen Paddock, 
moderator; Walter V. Wemple, clerk. 
.1796.— Dirck Gardenier, Kinderhook; Elisha Jenkins, Hudson; 
Philip Rockefeller, Germantown ; John A. Fonda, Living- 
ston; George Monell, Claverack; Levi Stone, Chatham; 
Elisha Gilbert, Canaan; Charles McKinstry, Hillsdale; 
Samuel Ten Broeck, Clermont. Direk Gardenier, mod- 
erator ; Walter V. Wemple, clerk. 
1797. — Elisha Jenkins, Hudson; Dirck Gardenier, Kinderhook; 
Charles McKinstry, Hillsdale; Peter Bishop, Livingston; 
Levi Stone, Chatham; George Monell, Claverack; Samuel 
Ten Broeck, Clermont; Benjamin Tobey, Canaan ; Philip 
Rockefeller, Germantown. Charles McKinstry, moderator; 
Walter V. Wemple, clerk. 
1798.— William Wilson, Clermont; Dirck Gardenier, Kinderhook; 
Philip Rockefeller, Germantown; Peter Van Alstyne, Kin- 
derkook; Charles McKinstry, Hillsdale; Elisha Jenkins, 
Hudson ; George Monell, Claveraok ; Peter Bishop, Living- 
ston; Eleazer Grant, Canaan. William Wilson, moderator ; 
Andrew M. Carshore, clerk. 
1799.— William Wilson, Clermont; Eleazer Grant, Canaan; Henry 
Livingston, Livingston; Abm. I. Van VIeck, Kinderhook ; 
Charles McKinstry, Hillsdale ; John C. Hogeboom, Clav- 
erack ; Peter Sharp, Germantown; Peter Van Alstyne, 
Chatham; Robert Jenkins, Hudson. William Wilson, 
moderator; Andrew M. Carshore, clerk. 
1800.- John C. Hogeboom, Claverack ; Henry Livingston, Living- 
ston; Robert Jenkins, Hudson; Philip Rockefeller, Ger- 
mantown; Samuel Ten Broeck, Clermont; Peter Van 
Alstyne, Chatham; Abm. L Van VIeck, Kinderhook; Wil- 
liam Aylesworth, Canaan ; Samuel Mallery, Hillsdale. John 
C. Hogeboom, moderator; Elisha Jenkins, clerk. 
1801.— Abm. I. Van VIeck, Kinderhook; George Monell, Claverack; 
Moncrief Livingston, Livingston; Jonathan Warner, Ca- 
naan; Matthew Dorr, Chatham ; Robert Jenkins, Hudson; 
John N. Taylor, Germantown; William Wilson, Clermont; 
Samuel Mallery, Hillsdale. Abraham L Van VIeck, mod- 
erator; Andrew M. Carshore, clerk. 
1802.~William AVilson, Clermont; Henry Livingston, Livingston; 
George Monell, Claverack ; James Brebner, Chatham ; 
John Whiting, Canaan ; Samuel Mallery, Hillsdale ; Garret 
Cupk, Germantown; John Van Alen, Kinderhook; Cotton 
Gelston, Hudson. William Wilson, moderator; Andrew 
M. Carshore, clerk. 
1803.— Robert T. Livingston, Livingston ; Nicholas Kline, Gallatin; 
Samuel Mallery, Hillsdale; William Wilson, Clermont; 
George Monell, Claverack; Garret Cuck, Germantown; 
Henry Avery, Granger; Cotton Gelston, Hudson; John 
Van Alen, Kinderhook ; John Whiting, Canaan ; James 

Brebner, Chatham. James Brebner, moderator; Andrew 
M. Carshore, clerk. 

—George Monell, Claveraok; William Wilson, Clermont; Mat- 
thew Dorr, Chatham ; John Whiting, Canaan ; James S. 
Livingston, Livingston ; Nicholas Kline, Gallatin ; Samuel 
Mallery, Hillsdale ; John Van Alen, Kinderhook ; Garret 
Cuck, Germantown ; Henry Avery, Granger; James Hyatt, 
Hudson. William Wilson, moderator; Andrew M. Car- 
shore, clerk. 

—George Monell, Claverack; Samuel Mallery, Hillsdale ; Hen- 
ry Avery, Granger; John Van Alen, Kinderhook; Peter 
Sharp, Germantown ; Matthew Dorr, Chatham ; James 
Hyatt, Hudson ; Isaac AVilliams, Gallatin ; James S. Liv- 
ingston, Livingston; Thomas Brodhead, Clermont; John 
Whiting, Canaan. Samuel Mallery, moderator; Andrew 
M. Carshore, clerk. 

—Samuel Ten Broeck, Clermont; James S. Livingston, Living- 
ston; Allen Sheldon, Gallatin; Peter Sharp, Germantown; 
Henry Avery, Granger; John King, Canaan; Moses Young- 
love, Hudson ; Samuel Mallery, Hillsdale; George Monell, 
Claverack ; John Van Alen, Kinderhook ; Matthew Dorr, 
Chatham. Samuel Ten Broeck, moderator; Gilbert Jenkins, 

—Henry Avery, Granger; Matthew Dorr, Chatham; Samuel 
Mallery, Hillsdale; Frederick Rockefeller, Germantown; 
John Van Alen, Kinderhook ; James S. Livingston, Living- 
ston ; Peter Mesick, Claverack; John King, Canaan; 
Robert Taylor, Hudson; Isaac B. Smith, Gallatin; Thomas 
Brodhead, Clermont. Matthew Dorr, moderator; Mar- 
shall Jenkins, clerk. 

-James S. Livingston, Livingston; Matthew Dorr, Chatham; 
Thomas Brodhead, Clermont; Samuel Mallery, Hillsdale; 
Peter Mesick, Claverack; John King, Canaan; John Van 
Alen, Kinderhook; Frederick Rockefeller, Germantown; 
Josiah llollcy, Gallatin; Henry Avery, Granger; Robert 
Taylor, Hudson. Matthew Dorr, moderator; M. Jenkins, 
Jr., clerk. 

-Thomas Brodhead, Clermont ; Allen Sheldon, Gallatin ; 
Henry Livingston, Livingston; Henry Avery, Granger; 
Abraham Van VIeck, Kinderhook ; Samuel Edmonds, Hud- 
son ; Peter Mesick, Claverack; Timothy Oakley, Chatham; 
Ebenezer Soule, Hillsdale; Frederick Rockefeller, German- 
town ; Jason Warner, Canaan. Thomas Brodhead, mode- 
rator ; Andrew M. Carshore, clerk. 

-Thomas Brodhead, Clermont; Abraham Van VIeck, Kinder- 
hook; Allen Sheldon, Gallatin; Ebenezer Sonic, Hillsdale; 
Jason Warner, Canaan; Henry Livingston, Livingston; 
Henry Avery, Granger; Peter Mesick, Claveraok; Nathan 
Sears, Hudson ; Timothy Oakley, Chatham ; Frederick 
Rockefeller, Germantown. Thomas Brodhead, moderator ; 
Luther Bingham, clerk. 

-Henry Livingston, Livingston; Ebenezer Soule, Hillsdale; 
Henry Avery, Granger; Abraham Van Vleok, Kinderhook ; Sears, Hudson ; Peter Mesick, Claverack ; Allen 
Sheldon, Gallatin ; Timothy Oakley, Chatham ; Frederick 
Rockefeller, Germantown ; Daniel Warner, Canaan ; Thos. 
Brodhead, Clermont. Ebenezer Soule, moderator ; Samuel 
Edmonds, clerk. 

-John Van Deusen, Livingston ; Thomas Brodhead, Clermont; 
Frederick Rockefeller, Germantown; Abraham Van Vlock, 
Kinderhook ; Nathan Sears, Hudson ; Allen Sheldon, Galla- 
tin ; Peter Mesiek, Claverack; Daniel Warner, Canaan; 
Henry Avery, Granger; Bartholomew Williams, Hillsdale; 
Timothy Oakley, Chatham. Daniel Warner, moderator: 
James S. Livingston, clerk. 

-Peter Mesick, Claverack; Daniel Warner, Canaan; Henr^ 
Avery, Granger; Samuel Wilbur, Chatham; John Van 
Deusen, Livingston ; Amariah Storrs, Hudson ; Henry 
Mink, Gallatin; Wm. Tanner, Hillsdale; Garret Cuck, 
Clermont ; Abm. Van VIeck, Kinderhook ; Frederick Rocke- 
feller, Germantown. Daniel Warner, moderator; Wm. G. 
Hubbel, clerk. 

-Peter Mesick, Claverack; Wm. Tanner, Hillsdale; Amariah 
Storrs, Hudson ; John Van Deusen, Livingston ; Garret 
Cuck, Clermont; Simon Rockefeller, Germantown; Isaa* 


B, Smith, Anonim ; Honry Avery, Taghkanio ; Peter Van 
Vleck, Canaan ; Henry h. Van Dyok, Kinderhook ; Mat- 
thew Bealo, Chatham. Amariah Storrs, moderator; Wm. G. 
Hubbel, clerk. 
1815.— Robt. H. Van Rensselaer, Hudson; Thos. Jenkins, Hudson; 
Josiah Hollcy, Aneram ; Henry L. Van Dyck, Kinderhook; 
Daniel Warner, Canaan ; Peter Mesick, Clavoraek ; Garret 
Cuck, Clermont; Simon Rockefeller, Gerniantown ; John 
Van Deusen, Livingston; Augustus F. Haydon, Chatham; 
Friend Sheldon, Taghkanic; Jonathan C. Olmstead, Hills- 
dale. Henry L. Van Dyck, moderator; Wm. G. Hubbel, 
1816.— Henry L. Van Dyck, Kinderhook; John Van Deusen, Living- 
ston; Garret Cuck, Clermont; Friend Sheldon, Taghkanic ; 
James Strong, Hudson ; John P. Jenkins, Hudson ; Jona- 
than C. Olmstead, Hillsdale; Simon Rockefeller, German- 
town; Peter Mosick, Claverack; Isaac B. Smith, Aneram ; 
Daniel Warner, Canaan; Augustus F. Haydon, Chathum. 
H. L. Van Dyok, moderator; Wm. G. Hubbel, clerk. 

1817.— Thomas Brodhead, Clermont; Henry L. Van Dyck, Kinder- 
hook ; Henry Avery, Taghkanic ; Anthony Boucher, Clav- 
erack ; Isaac B. Smith, Ancr-am ; Daniel Warner, Canaan ; 
Edward Bagley, Hillsdale; Anson Pratt, Chatham ; James 
Nixon, Jr., Hudson ; Paul Dakin, Hudson; John Van Deu- 
sen, Livingston ; Simon Rockefeller, Gerniantown. H. L. 
Van Dyck, moderator; Wm. G. Hubbel, clerk. 

1818.— Henry L. Van Dyck, Kinderhook ; Peter Van Alstyne, Chat- 
ham ; Elam Tilden, Canaan ; Tobias L. Hogcboom, Ghent; 
Jonathan C. Olmstead, Austerlitz ; Anthony Boucher, Clav- 
erack ; Joseph Morehouse, Hillsdale ; James Nixon, Jr., 
Hudson ; Paul Dakin, Hudson ; John Van Deusen, Living- 
ston ; Adam I. Strevel, Taghkanic; Isaac B. Williams, 
Aneram; Garret Cuck, Clermont; Simon Rockefeller, Ger- 
mantown. H. L. Van Dyck, moderator; Wm. G. Hubbel, 

1819.— Henry L.Van Dyok, Kinderhook; Pater Van Vlesk, Canaan ; 
Edward B. Pugsley, Ghent; Anthony Boucher, Claverack ; 
John King, New Lebanon; Jojeph Morehouse, Hillsdale; 
Adam I. Strevel, Taghkanic ; Peter Van Alstyne, Chatham ; 
Thomas Brodhead, Clermont; Paul Dakin, Hudson ; Bar- 
nabas Waterman, Hudson; Isaac B.Smith, Aneram; Simon 
Rockefeller, Germantown; George Lawrence, Austerlitz; 
John Van Deusen, Livingston; H. L. Van Dyck, moder- 
ator; William G. Hubbel, clerk. 

1820. — Anthony Boucher, Claverack; Henry L. Van Dyok, Kinder- 
hook; Joseph Morehouse, Hillsdale; Edward B. Pugsley, 
Ghent; George Lawrence, Austerlitz; Samuel A. Curtiss, 
Canaan; John King, New Lebanon ; Isaac Mills, Chatham ; 
John Van Deusen, Livingston ; Thomas Brodhead, Cler- 
mont; Isaac B. Williams, Aneram ; Adam I. Strevel, Tagh- 
kanic ; Barnabas Waterman, Hudson ; Paul Dakin, Hud- 
son ; Simon Rockefeller, Germantown; H. L. Van Dyck, 
moderator; William G. Hubbel, clerk. 

1821-22.S— John King, moderator; William G. Hubbel, clerk. 

1823.— Walter Patterson, moderator; William G. Hubbel, clerk. 

1824-27.— John P. Beekman, moderator; William G. Hubbel, clerk. 

1828.- Charles Waldo, moderator; William G. Hubbel, clerk. 

1829.— John King, moderator; William G. Hubbel, clerk. 

1830.— Oliver Wiswall, chairman ; William G. Hubbel, clerk. 

1831.— Wm. H. Wilson, chairman ; William G. Hubbel, clerk. 

1832-34.— Robert G. Frary, chairman ; William G. Hubbel, clerk. 

1835.— Lucas Hoes, chairman; William G. Hubbel, clerk. 

1836.- Garret Burgert, chairman ; Hiram Tapping, clerk. 

1837.— Levi Pitts, chairman; Hiram Tapping, clerk. 

1838.- James Mellen, chairman ; Joseph G. Palen, clerk. 

1839.— Chas. Esselstyne, chairman ; Joseph G. Palen, clerk. 

1840.-^ohn E. Warner, chairman ; Rodolphus P. Skinner, clerk. 

1841. — John Vanderpoel, chairman; Theodore Miller, clerk. 

1842. — John Vanderpoel, chairman ; Stephen Storm, clerk. 

1843.— Peter I. Hoes, chairman ; Stephen Storm, clerk. 

1844. — James Storm, chairman ; John II. Overhiser, clerk. 

1845.— L. Van Buren, chairman ; Henry Miller, clerk. 

The list of supervisors from 1821 to 
of its extreme length. 

76 has been omitted < 

— L. Van Buren, chairman ; John Mosher, clerk. 
— Robert G. Frary, chairman ; Erastus H. Bonn, clerk. 
—Robert A. Barnard, chairman ; Harmon B. Whitbock, clerk. 
—Jonas H. Miller, chairman ; Harmon B. Whitbock, clerk. 
-51. — ^L. Van Buren, chairman; David C. Neefus, clerk. 
— Peter P. Rossmnn, chairman ; John Whitbeck, clerk. 
-Henry W. Reynolds, chairman ; John M. Welch, clerk. 
— Ira Hand, chairman ; Jacob P. Miller, clerk. 
— Ira Hand, chairman ; Gilbert Langdon, clerk. 
— Samuel A. Barstow, chairman; John Whitbock, clerk. 
—William M. Elton, chairman; Robert W. McClellan, Clerk. 
—Geo. A. Kisselburgh, chairman; Valentine Fingar, clerk. 
—Horatio N. Hand, chairman ; Charles G. Coffin, clerk. 

— Ilinini 1>. Ford, chairman; John V. Whitbock, clerk. 

— Iloiiiiiu \. lliiii.l. chairman; Theodore Snyder, clerk. 
— Sti'plitMi II.;m, chairman; John Whitbeck, clerk. 
.— Wm. (i. Maii.l.ville, chairman: John Whitbeck, clerk. 

— Wm. G. Mandeville, chairman ; J. Southart Van Wyck, clerk. 

—Peter Mesick, chairman; John V. Whitbeck, clerk. 

— John H. Overhiser, chairman; Gilbert Langdon, clerk. 

— Peter Mesick, chairman ; Gilbert Langdon, clerk. 

-69.— Jacob H. Proper, chairman ; John Whitbeck, clerk. 

—Henry Cornell, chairman; Aaron V. D. Whitbeck, clerk. 

— Sherman Van Ness, chairman; James Miller, clerk. 

—Lorenzo Gile, chairman ; Henry P. Horton, clerk. 

— Hugh Van Alstyne, chairman; Ruluf Neefus, clerk. 

— Sherman Van Ness, chairman ; John C. Hubbard, clerk. 

-77.— Perkins F. Cady, chairman ; Ruluf Neefus, clerk. 

— Perkins F. Cady, Chatham; Er.astus Coons, Germantown; 
John AV. Coons, Greenport; James Dingman, Stockport; 
Jacob H. Duntz, Gallatin ; Frederick F. Folgor, Hudson, 
3d ward; Michael Guinan, Hudson, 2d ward; Franklin 
Hand, New Lebanon; Charles W. Havens, Canaan ; Mag- 
nus D. Herbs, Hudson, 4th ward ; William Hoag, Aneram ; 
William G. Kittle, Ghent; John D. Langdon, Copake ; 
Samuel L. Myers, Taghkanic ; Henry C. Pierson, Austerlitz ; 
John Sagendorph, Chiverack ; Abram L. Schcrmerhorn, 
Stuyvesant; Allen Sheldon, Hillsdale; Samuel Shutt.", Liv- 
ingston; Charles W. Trimper, Kinderhook; Sherman Van 
Ness, Hudson, 1st w.ird ; Harold Wilson, Clermont. Sher- 
man Van Ness, chairman ; C. W. Davis, clerk. 



The county of Columbia has always been remarkable for 
the very larjre number, among her natives and residents, of 
men who have risen to high places of distinction. It is 
claimed — and, as we believe, without the possibility of suc- 
cessful contradiction — that there is not in the State of New 
York, nor indeed within the United States, a county of 
equal .size which is able to boast of a roll so brilliant. 

This county has produced a President and a Vice-Presi- 
dent of the United States; Secretaries of War and of the 
Treasury; Senators and Secretaries of State, both of the 
United States and of the State of New York ; Ministers 
Plenipotentiary to foreign courts; governors; judges; and 
many civil officers of scarcely less exalted station, as well as 
military and naval heroes. 

It is our purpose to give, in this chapter, brief personal 
sketches of some of the distinguished men of Columbia, 
chiefly of those who have passed away, and including none 
who are now residents of the county. To include all, of 
the past and present, who deserve special mention would 
be impracticable. 



Martin Van Buren, the eighth President of the United 
States, the son of Abraham Van Buren, a farmer of Kin- 
derhook, was born in that town on the 5th of December, 1782. 
His early education, which was rather limited, was ac- 
quired at the Kinderhook Academy, which he left at the 
age of fourteen to engage in the study of the law, which he 
commenced in the office of Francis Silvester, in his native 
village, hut completed in the city of New York, in the office 
of William P. Van Ness. 

It is said that the first public office held by Mr. Van 
Buren was nearly, if not quite, the lowest possible, that of 
fence-viewer, in Kinderhook ; but from that he ascended, 
with a rapidity which is seldom equaled, from one position 
to another, until he reached the summit of possible am- 
bition.^the presidency. 

In November, 1803, he was admitted to the bar of the 
Supreme Court, and returned to commence practice in Kin- 

In 1808 he was appointed surrogate of Columbia county. 
In 1812 he was elected to the Senate of the State, and in 
that body voted for electors pledged to support De Witt 
Clinton for President of tlie United States. From 1815 to 
1819 he was attorney-general of the State, and in 1816 
was again a member of the Senate, the two offices being 
held together. In 1818, Mr. Van Buren set on foot anew 
organization of the Democratic party in this State, and 
became the ruling spirit in a coterie of politicians known 
as the Albany Regency, among whom B. F. Butler, Wm. L. 
Marcy, and Edwin Croswell were afterwards prominent, 
who held the political control of the State uninterruptedly 
for more than twenty years. In 1821 he was elected to the 
United States Senate, and was also a member of the conven- 
tion to revise the State constitution. In the latter body he 
advocated an extension of the elective franchise, but opposed 
universal suffrage, as also the plan of appointing justices of 
the peace by popular election. 

On the 6th of February, 1827, he was re-elected United 
States senator, but re-iigued the office in the following 
year to accept that of governor of New York, to which 
he had been elected. One of the first measures recom- 
mended by him as governor was the safety fund banking 
system, which was adopted in 1829. He resigned the 
office of governor to accept the secretaryship of state, 
which was tendered him by President Jackson immediately 
after his inauguration, in 1829. 

In April, 1881, Mr. Van Buren resigned the office of 
secretary, and was appointed minister to England, arriving 
in that country in September ; but his nomination, sub- 
mitted to the Senate in December, was rejected on the 
ground that while secretary of state he had instructed the- 
United States minister to England to beg of that country 
certain concessions in regard to trade with her colonies in 
the West Indies, which he should have demanded as a 
right, and that he had carried our domestic party contests 
and their results into foreign diplomatic negotiations. 

This rejection was followed, on May 22, 1832, by the 
nomination of Mr. Van Buren for the vice-presidency, on 
the ticket with General Jackson ; and in the subsequent 

election Mr. Van Buren received the electoral votes of all 
the States which voted for General Jackson, with the ex- 
ception of Pennsylvania. 

On the 2()th of May, 1835, the Democratic convention 
at Baltimore unanimously nominated Mr. Van Buren for 
the presidency, and in the following November he was 
elected to the office, receiving one hundred and seventy 
electoral votes, or twenty-eight more than the number 
necessary to a choice. 

His inauguration in 1837 was immediately followed by 
the memorable financial panic of that year, and suspension 
of specie payments by the banks. Commerce and manu- 
factures were prostrate, hundreds of mercantile houses 
in every part of the country became bankrupt, and during 
his entire administration the business of the country re- 
mained in a very depressed condition as a consequence of 
that great revulsion. 

In the great presidential campaign of 1840, in which 
Mv. Van Buren was nominated for re-election, these dis- 
asters were by his political opponents attvibuted to the 
measures of his administration ; and such was the effect of 
these allegations upon the voters of the country, that in 
the election which followed Mr. Van Buren secured (inly 
sixty electoral votes, against two hundred and thirty-four 
cast for his opponent. General Harri.son. 

Upon his retirement from the presidency, March 4, 1841, 
he returned to his residence in Kinderhook, to live once 
more among the friends and neighbors who delighted to do 
him honor. In the year 1844 he was again urged as a 
presidential candidate by northern Democrats, but was re- 
jected by the southern wing of the party on account of his 
opposition to the annexation of Texas, as expressed by him 
in a letter to a citizen of Mississippi, who had called for 
his opinion on that question; and by the two-thirds rule 
adopted in the convention his nomination was defeated. In 
1848, when the Democrats had nominated Gerteral Cass, 
and avowed their readiness to tolerate slavery in the terri- 
tories lately acquired from Mexico, Mr. Van Buren and his 
adherents, adopting the name of "Free-Soil Democracy," 
at once began to discuss in public that new aspect of the 
slavery question. They held a convention at Utica, June 
22, which nominated Mr. Van Buren for President, and 
Henry Dodge, of Wisconsin, for Vice-President. Mr. 
Dodge declined the nomination, and at a general " Free- 
Soil" convention in Buffalo on August 9, Charles Francis 
Adams was substituted. The convention declared that 
" Congress has no more power to make a slave than to 
make a king," and that it is the duty of the Federal gov- 
ernment to relieve itself of all responsibility for the ex- 
istence or continuance of slavery wherever the government 
possesses constitutional power to legislate on the subject, 
and is thus responsible for its existence. In accepting the 
nomination of this new party Mr. Van Buren declared his 
full assent to its anti-slavery principles. The result was 
that in New York he received the suffrages of more than 
half of those who had been hitherto attached to the Demo- 
cratic party, and that General Taylor, the candidate of the 
Whigs, was elected. 

After that time Mr. Van Buren remained in private life on 
his estate at Kinderhook, with the exception of a prolonged 


tour in Europe in 1853-55. On the outbreak of the 
civil war, he dechired himself warmly and decidedly in 
favor of maintaining the republic in its integrity. In 
July, 1862, at a time when all looked gloomy enough for 
the northern amiies and for the cause of the Union, the 
venerable ex-President lay dying at Lindenwald. " Previous 
to the wandering of his mind," wrote a correspondent of 
the Boston Journal from Kinderhook, " and once or twice 
since, when reason returned, Mr. Van Buren has evinced 
the most lively and patriotic interest in the affairs of the 
country. He inquired of Dr. Pruyn how the good work 
of crushing the rebellion was going on, and was very par- 
ticular to learn if the public confidence in the President 
was yet firm and unshaken, as he thought it should be, 
and appeared much gratified when answered in the affirma- 
tive. He has all faith in the ultimate triumph of our arms 
and cause." He died a day or two later, — July 24, 18G2. 

Mr. Van Buren was an active, laborious, and successful 
politician, possessing a deep and intuitive knowedge of 
human nature, and remarkable powers of argument and per- 
suasion. His private character was without a blemish, his 
manners exceedingly pleasing, and his feelings the most 
kind and generous, with never a touch of malice or hatred 
even towards his most bitter opponents. 

On the occasion of the death of his uncompromising 
political antagonist, De Witt Clinton, in 1828, Mr. Van 
Buren pronounced a most eloquent eulogy, from which we 
extract the following admirable passage : " The triumph of 
his talents and patriotism cannot fail to become monuments 
of high and enduring fame. We cannot, indeed, but re- 
member that in our public career collisions of opinions and 
action, at once extensive, earnest, and enduring, have arisen 
between the deceased and many of us. For myself, it gives 
me a deep-felt though melancholy satisfaction to know, and 
more so to be conscious, that the decea.sed also felt and ac- 
knowledged that our political difi"erences have been wholly 
free from that most venomous and corroding of all poisons, 
personal hatred. But in other respect it is now immaterial 
what was the character of those collisions. They have 
been turned to nothing, and less than nothing, by the event 
we deplore, and I doubt not that we will, with one voice 
and one heart, yield to his memory the woll-descrved tribute 
of our respect for his name, and our warmest gratitude for 
his great and signal services. For myself, so strong, so 
sincere, so engrossing is that feeling, that I, who whilst 
living never, no never, envied him anything, now that 
he has fallen, am greatly tempted to envy him his grave 
with its honors." 

Truly, the personal attainments and virtues of Martin 
Van Buren, as well as the pre-eminent station to which he 
rose, shed much of lusti-e on the county that was his 
birthplace and his home. 


" Now and then," says Oliver Wendell Holmes, in his 

" Poet at the Breakfast Table," " one saves a reminiscence 

that means a great deal by means of a casual question. 

I asked the first of these old New Yorkers* the following 

» The gentleman of whom Dr. Holmes mMe (his inquiry was the 
Hon. Gulian C. Verplanck. 

question, ' Who, on the whole, seemed to you the most 
considerable person you ever met?' Now it must be 
remembered that this was a man who had lived in a city 
called the metropolis ; one who liad been a member of the 
State and National Legislatures ; who had come in contact 

with men of letters and men of business, witii politicians 
and members of all the professions, during a long and dis- 
tinguished public career. I paused for his answer with no 
little curiosity. Would it be one of the great ex-Presidents 
whos^ names were known to all the world? Would it 
be the silver-tongued orator of Kentucky, or the godlike 
champion of the constitution, our own New England Ju- 
piter Capitolinus ? Who would it be ? 

" ' Take it altogether,' he answered, very deliberately, ' I 
should say that Colonel Elisha Williams was the most 
notable personage that I have ever met with.' 

" ' Colonel Elisha Williams ! And who might he be, for- 
sooth ?' 

" A gentleman of singular distinction, you may be 
well assured, even though you are not familiar with his 
name ; but, as I am not writing a biographical dictionary, 
I shall leave it to my reader to find out who and what he 

We believe Dr. Holmes was at fault in bestowing a 
military title on the Hon. Elisha Williams, but we will 
endeavor to tell, in a very brief sketch, " who and what 
he was." 

He was, for a period embracing more than the first 
quarter of the present century, the bright particular stiir 
in that shining constellation of legal talent which formed 
the bar of the county of Columbia. He was an orator 


who had few peers ; one who by the charm and power of 
his marvelous eloquence could captivate the minds of his 
auditors and sway them at his will. He was an advocate 
who, as such, seldom found an equal and never a superior; 
whose renown was so great and so widely extended that 
his services were sought in important cases, not only through 
this and neighboring counties and in the cities of Albany 
and New York, but also in the adjoining States ; and of 
whom it was said by so competent a critic and so eminent 
a barrister as Thomas Addis Emmett, " I have listened to 
the great men of Europe and America, but never to one 
who could enchain the attention and captivate the judg- 
ment like Elisha Williams." 

This brilliant man, the son of Colonel Ebenezer Wil- 
liams, and grandson of the Rev. Ebenezer Williams, of 
Pomfret, Conn., was born in that town on the 29th of 
August, 1773,* and, losing his father by death while he 
was yet but a youth, was placed under the guardianship of 
Captain Seth Grosvenor, of Pomfret, who attended to his 
early education, which, however, was not very complete. 

At a date which we are unable to give, he was placed in 
the law-ofiBce of Judge Reeves, of Litchfield, Conn., where 
he completed his preparation for the profession in which 
he afterwards became so eminent. In June, 1793, when 
less than twenty years of age, he was admitted to the bar, 
and then started out to seek a location, having with him 
his entire personal property, consisting of a horse, a port- 
manteau, and less than twenty dollars in money. He 
decided on Spencertown, in Columbia county, and there 
settled, and two years later he was united in marriage 
with the daughter of his former guardian, Miss Lucia 
Grosvenor, by whom he had five children. 

In 1799 he removed to the city of Hudson, and from 
that removal may be dated the commencement of his 
famous career. He first took his seat in the Assembly in 
1801, and from that time became one of the principal 
leaders of the Federal party in the State as well as in Co- 
lumbia county. He always declined to accept higher oflSce, 
although frequently importuned to do so, and although 
himself exerting a controlling influence and almost dic- 
tating the nominations so long as his party remained in 

He was president of the Bank of Columbia at Hudson 
for a number of years, and a large owner in the institution. 
Through some of his transactions he became possessed of a 
tract of land embracing all or a large portion of the present 
site of the village of Waterloo, in Seneca county. From 
these lands he realized large returns ; so that by this means 
and through his very lucrative professional business he be- 
came what was at that time considered a wealthy man. 
Some of the last yeare of his life were passed upon his 
property in Seneca county. The weary days of his last 
sickness were spent principally at Hudson, the city of his 
preference, as it had been the scene of most of his pro- 
fessional triumphs. During a deceptive rally from the 
prostration of his illness he visited the city of New York 
for a temporary stay, but while there was stricken with 

* These facts are taken from "The Genealogy and History of the 
Williams Family," by S. W. Williams. 

apoplexy, and died at the residence of Mr. Grosvenor, on 
the 29th of June, 1833. 

A few days after the sad event (July 2, 1833), at a 
meeting of gentlemen of the New York city bar, held at 
the city hall, for the purpose of giving expression to their 
grief at the death of the great lawyer, and their respect 
for his character and talents, Mr. George Grifiin, in second- 
ing the proposed resolutions, gave utterance to the following 
truthful and appropriate words of eulogium : 

" It is not my design to enter upon a detailed panegyric 
of the deceased ; that will form a noble subject for the 
biographer. It is my purpose simply to allude to a few of 
the most prominent features that distinguished him. A 
stranger would scarcely have been in company with Elisha 
Williams without being aware that he stood in the presence 
of an extraordinary man. To be convinced of this, he 
need not have witnessed the flashes of his wit, sparkling 
from its own intrinsic brilliancy, nor his soul-subduing 
pathos, nor the displays of his deep knowledge of human 
nature. There belonged to the deceased an eye, a voice, 
a majesty of person and of mien, that marked him for 
superiority. With these advantages, it is not surprising 
that his eloquence should have commanded the universal 
admiration of his contemporaries. It was peculiar, it was 
spontaneous, it was variegated, it was overwhelming, — now 
triumphing over the convinced and subdued understanding, 
now bearing away in willing captivity the rapt imagination, 
and now knocking with resistless energy at the doors of the 

" I have alluded to his knowledge of human nature. It 
was indeed more varied and profound than I have ever wit- 
nessed in any other advocate. It seemed to have been his 
by intuition. ' He needed not,' as Dryden said of Shak- 
spearc, ' the spectacle of books to read nature : he looked 
inward, and found her there.' By a kind of untaught 
anatomy he was capable of dissecting our intellectual and 
moral frame. It was this quality which gave him his 
transcendent power in the examination and cross-examina- 
tion of witnesses, enabling him to drag forth the truth in 
triumph from the inmost recesses of its hiding-place. He 
owed little to early education. Like Shakspeare, whom he 
resembled in wit, in imagination, in brilliancy, in knowl- 
edge of the human heart, in creative powers, he was the 
architect of himself Nor was he, even in after-life, distin- 
guished for laborious study. His communion was with his 
own mighty mind. Like Prometheus, he borrowed his fire 
from heaven alone ; and without underrating professional 
attainments, or the profound and patient research necessary 
for their acquisition, perhaps it may be said that in the 
peculiar case of Mr. Williams it was well for him and for 
the public that he poised himself .so exclusively on his 
own resources. If by this means he imparted less of the 
thoughts of others, he imparted more of his own ; if he 
displayed less of the lore of other times, he displayed more 
of the treasures of his own rich intellect. 

" At the outset of his career he attained distinction, and 
he remained in the first rank of his profession until near 
the age of sixty, when ill health induced him to retire with 
undiminished powers. I was associated with him in his 
last professional efibrt in this hall ; when, like the clear 


setting sun, he shed upon the horizon that he was ahout to 
leave forever the full and gladdening radiance of his match- 
less eloquence. 

" Nor was his heart inferior to his head. He was the 
most dutiful of sons, the kindest of husbands, the most 
affectionate of fathers, the best of neighbors, and the most 
faithful of friends. He had ever ' an eye for pity, and a 
hand open to melting charity.' He was the poor man's 
gratuitous adviser and liberal benefactor. His charities 
were more muniticent than his means, and the blessings of 
many a one who was ready to perish have ascended before 
him to the throne of God." 

A meeting of membere of the Oneida county bar, held 
at Utica, July 2, 1833, adopted resolutions in reference to 
the death of Mr. Williams, from which resolutions we ex- 
tract as follows : 

" The committee of the bar attending the July term of the Supreme 
Court have received, with uicst profound grief, the intelligence of the 
death of their honored and beloved associate, Elisha Williams, Esq. 
Of the splendid talents, which placed Mr. Williams among the very 
first of their profession, their testimony can add no new evidence. 
During a professional career of nearly forty years, every part of our 
State has had an opportunity of witnessing the wonderful efforts of 
his intellect, and of feeling the power of his surpassing eloquence. 
Although distinguished amongst the ablest debaters in our public 
councils, yet we feel it to be our right and our duty to claim him as 
one of the most illustrious ornaments of that profession to which his 
life was devoted, and in which his greatest triumphs were achieved. 
To us, and to our succes.sors, his example has furnished a lesson of 
incalculable value. Literally the maker of his own fortune and fame, 
his path to greatness is everywhere strewed with relics of difficulties 
overcome and obstacles subdued. 

**But great as were his intellectual etforts, and splendid as was his 
professional course, he is more strongly endeared to his associates 
and brethren by ties ot a different kind, and which even death can- 
not sever. The frankness and generosity of his noble nature, which 
so irresistibly won the confidence and esteem of those who knew him, 
furnished unerring indications of that excellent and full heart which 
was constantly overflowing in acts of the purest benevolence, and 
which made him love his friend more than himself." 

Eli-sha Williams was a distant relative of General Otho 
Holland Williams, who was at one time a member of the 
staff of General Washington, and of whom the commander- 
in-chief is reported to have said that he was the most noble- 
looking oflBcer in the Revolutionary army. Perhaps this 
physical perfection was a family characteristic, for all 
accounts, both oral and published, of the great advocate 
of Hudson, agree that it was possessed by him in an emi- 
nent degree. His proportions are said to have been most 
striking in their stateliness and symmetry. His eye was 
large, clear, and searching ; his countenance open, fearless, 
and expressive; and all his features, and his general mien, 
were so distinguished as to enchain the attention even of 
the casual observer or stranger. 

But it was not until his clear, melodious voice was 
heard that his marvelous powers were revealed. When- 
ever it was known that he was to be present and engaged 
in a trial, whether at his home in Hudson or in other 
places, to which he was so frequently called, the court- 
house was invariably crowded to the extreme of its ca- 
pacity; and when he spoke, the court, and the jury, and the 
auditory gave close and undivided attention to his utter- 
ances, and often during the finer passages would seem to 

hold their breath, lest a single silver word or intonation 
might be lost to the ear. 

Colonel William L. Stone, once a resident of Hudson, 
and afterwards editor of the New York Commercial Adver- 
tiser, used, in early years, to report the speeches made by 
Mr. Williams in the Assembly ; and in mentioning that 
circunLstance, the widow of Colonel Stone, in a letter writ- 
ten several years after the death of Mr. Williams, said, in 
reference to it :* 

" However, Mr. Stone always said it was impossible for any re- 
porter to do him justice, fur unless one could have before him his 
imposing figure, his beautiful countenance, beaming with high intel- 
lectual effort, and resplendent often with Hashes of wit, which seemed 
to light up all the faces around him ; unless the inimitable grace of 
his manners, as unconstrained as those of beautiful infancy, together 
with all the simplicity and earnestness of a true heart, it would bo 
impossible to convey one-half of the charm by which he seemed to 
hold all his audience, and sway all the minds before him, as by one 
mighty impulse, till they saw with his eyes, heard with his ears, and 
laid their hearts as offerings at his feet." 

Such was Elisha Williams ; a man of transcendent gift.s 
and powers of mind, who is shown, by a concurrence of all 
available testimony, to have occupied one of the highest 
places among the distinguished men of the State of New 
York. During all the years of his professional life he was 
a resident of Columbia county. He was her idol and her 
boast, and his fame is her rightful inheritance. 


Judge Robert R. Livingston, the son of the first propri- 
etor of Clermont, was born in 1719. In 17-12 he married 
Margaret Beekman, daughter of Colonel Henry Beekman, 
and granddaughter, on her mother's side, of Robert, nephew 
of the first proprietor of Livingston manor, and Margaret 
Schuyler. The children of Judge Livingston were four 
sons and .six daughters. One daughter died in infancy. 
The names of the children were as follows : 

Janet, born 1743, married to the celebrated Richard 
Montgomery, who fell at Quebec; Robert R., first chancel- 
lor of the State of New York, born 174G ; Margaret, born 
1748, married Dr. Tillot.son, of Rhinebeck, who was one of 
the early secretaries of the State of New York ; Henry B., 
born 1750, a colonel in the army of the Revolution ; Cath- 
arine, born 1752, married Rev. Freeborn Garrettsou, one of 
the early pioneers of the Methodist church in the United 
States; John R., born 1755; Gertrude, born 1757, mar- 
ried the politician, general, and governor, Morgan Lewis ; 
Joanna, born 1759, married the great politician, Peter R. 
Livingston ; Alida, born 1761, married General John Arm- 
strong, of the Revolution ; Edward, born 17G4, one of 
America's most distinguished men. 

Judge Livingston filled as important a part in the advent 
stages of the Revolution as his sons and daughters bore in 
and through the great war for freedom. He was chairman 
of the committee appointed by the General Assembly of 
New York to correspond with other Assemblies in relation 

-'• The letter was written to Mr. McKinstry, of Hudson, and the 
extract is from the " Genealogy and History of the Williams Family." 

f Further mention of the distinguished family of Livingston will 
be found in the history of the town of Clermont, 


to the grievances of the colonies. He was admitted, in the 
absence of delegates regularly appointed by New York, to 
the stamp-act Congress of 1765. He was the author of the 
address to the king, adopted by that body, praying for the 
invaluable rights of taxing ourselves, and of trials by our 
peers. On account of his sympathy with the popular side 
in the incipiency of the Revolution he lost his position as 
judge of the king's bench. As the conflict with the 
mother-country advanced towards a crisis he saw the neces- 
sity of united and open resistance on the part of the colo- 
nies, and in the famous postscript to his letter to his son, 
Robert R., the chancellor, at the Congress in Philadelphia, 
in 1775, made inquiry about .saltpetre for the purpose of 
manufacturing powder. He was at that time engaged in the 
erection of a powder-mill, in which his .son, John R. Liv- 
ingston, manufactured powder during the Revolution. 

and died in June, 1800, at Clermont. Her husband, the 
judge, died also at Clermont, in 1775. She was a brave, 
heroic, and patriotic woman, and bore a noble part in the 
home-life as one of the women of the American Revolution. 


Judge Livingston and his wife were blessed by a most 
remarkable group of children, — four sons and .six daughters, 
— all of whom, when married, settled upon the banks of 
the Hudson, extending from Staatsburg to Clermont. The 
oldest and youngest sons, Robert R. and Edward, were 
prominent statesmen. 

Robert R. Livingston was born in the city of New York 
on the 27th of November, 1746. He was educated by 
the best teachers of the period, and afterwards at King's 


Judge Livingston was a man of solid judgment, exten- 
sive knowledge, and high Christian character. His wile 
was an heiress to a very large landed estate, the grand- 
daughter of Margaret Schuyler. " At the age of eighteen," 
she writes, " I was made the happy wife uf Robert R. Liv- 
ingston. To say that my best friend was an agreeable man 
would but ill express a character that shone among the 
brightest, his finely-cultivated understanding, his just and 
wise decisions as a judge, a patriot ever attentive to the in- 
terests of his country, and a discerning politician." One 
of Judge Livingston's most intimate friends, William Smith, 
the historian, was accustomed to say, " If I were to be 
placed on a desert island, with but one book and one friend, 
that book should be the Bible and that friend Robert R. 

Margaret Beekman survived her husband many years, 

(now Columbia) College, then under the presidency of Myles 
Cooper, of RevolutioTiary celebrity, where he graduated, in 
1764, at the early age of eighteen. He studied law under 
William Smith, the historian of New York, and afterwards 
in the office of his relative, William Livingston, the di. - 
tiiiguishcd governor of New Jersey. On the 9th of Octo- 
ber, 1770, he married Miss Elizabeth Stevens, daughter of 
Hon. John Stevens, of Hunterdon, N. J. In October, 
1773, ho was admitted to the bar, and worked hard, be- 
coming very eminent in his profession, and for a short 
time was in partnership with his intimate friend, John 
Jay. Soon after this he was appointed recorder of his 
native city, and was an early opponent of British oppres- 
sion, taking a very active part in politics. In this situa- 
tion the Revolution found him, so that both father and 
son relinquished at the same time important judicial sta- 



tions to take part with their fellow-patriuts in tlie libera- 
tion of their country. 

The delegates from the colony of New York to the Con- 
tinental Congress, which met in Philadelphia in May, 1775, 
were John Jay, John Alsop, James Duane, Philip Schuyler, 
George Clinton, Lewis Morris, and Robert R. Livingston ; 
and the weight of their talents and character may be in- 
lerred from the fact that Mr. Jay, Mr. Duane, Mr. Schuyler, 
and Mr. Livingston were placed upon the couiniittees 
charged with the most responsible duties. Mr. Livingston 
took a leading part in the debates of the Congress. He 
was placed on the committee to prepare and report a plan 
for the confederation of the colonies, and was also a mem- 
ber of the committee appointed to draw up and prepare 
the Declaration of Independence. 

After the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 

Other duties of a more active, though not more respon- 
sible character, engaged Mr. Livingston's attention, as mem- 
ber of the council of safety, by which body he was 
charged with military powers to aid General Schuyler on 
the northern and western frontiers, as well as for the pro- 
tection of the Hudson. 

In 1781, upon the creation of the office by Congress, 
Mr. Livingston was appointed the first foreign secretary, 
and Robert Morris the first superintendent of finance. 
Mr. Livingston served as secretary of foreign affairs from 
1781 to 1783, when he resigned, as he had received the 
appointment of chancellor of the State of New York. 

The diplomatic correspondence of the Revolutionary war 
may here be referred to as documentary testimony to the 
cabinet services of Mr. Livingston during the period of his 
foreign secretaryship. 


the colony of New York was changed to a State, and 
Robert R. Livingston was placed upon the eoumiittee, with 
John Jay, Gouverneur Morris, Charles De Witt, and others, 
to draft and report the constitution. Robert R. Livingston 
introduced into this instrument the section creating the 
council of revision, a body composed of the governor, 
chancellor, and judges of the Supreme Court, which sat to 
revise all bills about to be passed into laws by the Legisla- 
ture, and of which he himself became a prominent mem- 
ber. The court existed till it was abolished by the con- 
vention of 1821, and its powers lodged solely in the hands 
of the governor by the constitution of that year. Mr. 
Livingston performed the labor of revising the draft of the 
State constitution of 1777, — not by any means an easy task, 
but one which required the best talent and learning to 

When appointed chancellor of the State of New York, 
in 1783, he was the first person who had ever held that 
office. It was the highest legal distinction in the State, 
and of tlie four who were his successors in office up to the 
abolition of the chancellorship, none filled the station with 
more learning, ability, or dignity. " The august tribunal 
whose justice be dispensed, though since covered with a 
halo of glory, never has boasted a more prompt, more able, 
or more fiiithful officer." In his official capacity as chan- 
cellor of the State of New York he had the honor to admin- 
ister the oath of office to Washington, on his inauguration 
as first President of the United States. The ceremony took 
place at the city hall, New York, then fronting on Wall 
street, which had been specially fitted up for the recep- 
tion of Congress. On this memorable occasion Chancellor 
Livingston, after having administered the oath, exclaimed, 



in deep and impressive tones, " Long live George Wash- 
ington, President of the United States !" 

Chancellor Livingston was tendered the post of minister 
to France by President Washington, but saw fit to decline 
its acceptance ; at a later period, however, after refusing the 
position of secretary of the navy in the cabinet of President 
Jefferson, he was prevailed upon to undertake the mission 
to France, and was appointed minister plenipotentiary to 
that government in 1801, resigning the chancellorship of 
New York to accept a post abroad. On his arrival in 
France he was received by Napoleon Bonaparte, then First 
Consul, with marked respect and cordiality. His ministry 
was signalized by the cession of Louisiana to the United 
States, which, through his negotiations, took place in 1803, 
adding all the immense territory west of the Mississippi 
river to our possessions. 

While in Paris he made the acquaintance of Robert 
Fulton, and a warm friondship grew up between them ; 
together they successfully developed a plan for steam-nav- 
igation. Mr. Livingston had previously become deeply in- 
terested in the subject ; he had constructed a boat, and had 
obtained of the Legislature of New York the exclusive 
right to navigate its waters by steam-power for a period of 
twenty years. On meeting Fulton in Franco, he made him 
acquainted with what he had done in America, and, from 
his knowledge of Fulton's mechanical genius, he advised 
him to turn his attention to the subject, which he did, and, 
after various experiments, the two together launched a trial 
boat on the Seine, which, however, did not meet their ex- 
pectations ; and it was not till after their return to America, 
in 1807, that the " Clermont" was built and launched upon 
the Hudson, and clearly demonstrated the feasibility of 
steam-navigation. Chancellor Livingston was the inventor, 
but the success of the invention was due to improvements 
suggested and made by Robert Fulton, and put in operation 
by the combined genius of the two great minds. It should 
be remembered, however, that Mr. Livingston was the prime 
mover, and was therefore instrumental in perfecting and 
bringing before the world one of the greatest discoveries 
of the age. 

The retirement of Chancellor Livingston from public life 
was but the beginning of a new era of usefulness in his 
memorable career. During the remainder of his life he 
devoted much time and attention to the subject of agricul- 
ture, and was actively engaged in introducing a number of 
valuable improvements in that art into the State of New 

He was the principal founder of the American Academy 
of Fine Arts, established in the city of New York in 1801. 
And although giving almost the first impulse to art culture 
in this country, it was not in this that he was .so much a 
benefiictor as in his aid to the means of common subsist- 
ence derived from the cultivation of the soil, by his intro- 
duction of improvements in the theory and practice of hus- 
bandry. Like Washington, he took a deep interest in all 
that pertained to the welfare of his countrymen, but in an 
especial manner in agriculture. His last work, written a 
few years previous to his death, was devoted to this subject. 

" Among the men of our common country who, by their 
deeds and fame, have added to the national glory and to the 

substantial welfare of the land, a pre-eminently conspicuous 
place will ever be assigned to Robert R. Livingston."* 

He departed this life at Clermont, his seat on the Hud- 
son, Feb. 26, 1813, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. He 
was buried in the old manor vault of the Livingston family 
at Clermont. 


Edward Livingston, the youngest son and youngest child 
of Judge Robert R. Livingston, was born at Clermont, Co- 
lumbia Co., N. Y., on the 28th of May, 1764. He was at 
home at the time his mother's house in Clermont was burned, 
and formed one of the number who retreated at the approach 
of the troops. In 1781 he graduated at Na.ssau Hall College, 
Princeton, N. J., and afterwards studied law in the office 
of John Lansing, Albany, N. Y. Among his fellow-stu- 
dents were James Kent, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, 
and many other men afterwards distinguished in their 
country's book of fame. The office of Edward Livingston, 
in New York, was a basement front room in the house 
where he resided with his mother. No. 51 Queen street, 
now Pearl street, near Wall. At this city mansion La- 
fayette and the French officers used to call and spend 
pleasant evenings, and as all the members of the family 
could speak the French language well, it was very agreeable 
to the French officers. 

Edward Livingston was married to Miss McEvers on 
the 10th of April, 1788. In December, 1795, he took 
his first seat in Congress, where he distinguished himself 
as one of the ablest orators and debaters of the House. In 
1801 he received from President Jefferson the appoint- 
ment of attorney of the United States for the district of 
New York, and was soon after elected mayor of that city, 
entering upon the duties of his office Aug. 24, 1801. He 
was the successor of De Witt Clinton and Richard Varick, 
in the order named. 

After the purchase of Louisiana by our government, he 
resolved to remove to New Orleans and commence a legal 
career in that city, and accordingly left New York in De- 
cember, 1803, arriving in the Crescent City, then a settle- 
ment of a few French, Spanish, and Creoles, in February, 
1804. He possessed a knowledge of French, Spanish, and 
German, which was of great advantage to him in his new sit- 
uation. He belonged to the fraternity of Masons, and was 
Master of the New Orleans lodge. Rising in his profes- 
sion, he became the greatest statesman of his day. He was 
one of the chief defenders of New Orleans when it was be- 
sieged by the British in 1814. Having, as chairman of the 
committee of safety, sent forth a stirring address to the peo- 
ple to rouse themselves for the defense of their city, he was 
the first to meet General Jackson at the head of his com- 
mittee and liiy before him the plans for the defense. 

In 1820 he accepted a seat in the lower house of the 
Louisiana Legislature, and in 1821 was elected by the 
General Assembly to revise the code of the State. He 
formed what was afterwards called the Livingston code, 
which obtained great reputation. He framed and urged 
the passage of a law for the abolition of capital punishment, 
but it was not accepted by the State. 

» Frederick De Peyster, LL.D. 


The name of Edward Livingston became celebrated 
throughout the world. Victor Hugo wrote to him, " You 
will be numbered among the men of this age who have de- 
served most and best of mankind." He was unanimously 
elected as a representative to Congress, in July, 1822, 
and afterwards, again, twice elected, serving six sessions as 
representative from Louisiana. In 1828 he was elected 
United States senator, and became a senator on the same 
day that his friend, General Jackson, became President of 
the United States. He discliarged the duties of senator 
till March, 1831, and had scarcely removed to his splendid 
farm and country-seat (Montgomery Place) left him by his 
widowed sister, Janet, than he was summoned to Washing- 
ton, and urged to accept the secretaryship of state in the 
cabinet of President Jackson. His stand taken with Jack- 
son against the nuUifiers of South Carolina and his hand 

Edward P. Livingston was elected lieutenant-governor 
of New York in 1831, and was several times sent to the 
State Senate, the last time in 1838. He was chosen presi- 
dential elector, was aid to Governor Tompkins, and private 
secretary to the chancellor during the latter portion of his 
ministry to France. 

He was a grandson of Philip Livingston, one of the 
signers of the Declaration of Independence. He resided 
at the lower manor-house, or Clermont manor, from 1802 
till the time of his death. He was a graduate of Co- 
lumbia College, which institution he entered at the age of 
sixteen years, and was a man of liberal culture and un- 
usual fondness for reading, taking a great interest also in 

In early life he went to England to engage in commercial 
pursuits, but finding no desirable opening, he soon returned. 




in the famous proclamation issued at that time are well 
known. In April, 1833, the President selected Edward 
Livingston as minister to France, and his son-in-law, Mr. 
Barton, as secretary of legation. On his return to the 
United States, after the able fulfillment of his responsible 
duties, his receptions by his countrymen were one grand 
ovation. This was the last service of his remarkably bril- 
liant career. On Saturday, May 21, 1836, he was suddenly 
taken very ill with an attack of bilious colic, from which 
he did not recover, but died on Monday, May 23, 1836, in 
the seventy-second year of his age. 

Edward P. Livingston was born in the island of Jamaica 
in 1780, and died November, 1843. He married Elizabeth 
Stevens, eldest daughter of Chancellor Robert R. Living- 



He was proposed in 1831 for governor of the State, but 
his right \yas questioned on the ground of his having been 
born in the island of Jamaica. It did not invalidate his 
claim, but was used to defeat his nomination, and he was 
elected lieutenant-governor instead. 

Mr. Clarkson, in describing the old manor-house of Chan- 
cellor Livingston and the reception given there to Lafayette, 
remarks, " At the time of the grand reception it was occu- 
pied by Robert L. Livingston, who married one of Chan- 
cellor Livingston's two daughters, and Edward P. Livingston 
married the other, and occupied at this time the old manor- 
house adjoining." 

This house is now occupied by a grandson of the chan- 
cellor, Mr. Clermont Livingston, a most worthy representa- 
tive of that noble old family. He is the son and successor 
in the estate of Edward P. Livingston, whose portrait 
appears above. 



Judge William W. Van Ness was born at Claverack in 
the year 1776. His early educational' advantages were rather 
limited, being such only as were afforded by his native 
village, as he did not receive a collegiate education. While 
quite young he commenced the study of the law in the 
office of John Bay, Esq., but afterwards served part of the 
time of his legal clerkship with Chancellor Livingston, in 
New York. In 1797, at the age of twi-nty-one, he was 
licensed as an attorney, and commenced practice in Clav- 
erack, but soon after removed to Hudson, and there re- 
mained in full and lucrative practice until the year 1807, 
when he was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of 
New York, under the administration of Governor Morgan 
Lewis. Of this appointment and of his previous profes- 
sional career the Hon. Aaron Vanderpoel spoke as follows : 

" Though but comparatively a youth when intrusted 
with the high and responsible office of judge, he had already 
secured to himself an enviable nieiisure of professional fame. 
His reputation as an advocate, or as it is vulgarly called ' a 
jury lawyer,' was at that time eminent beyond all parallel 
in the State. The various rencounters between him and a 
professional brother* must, according to the accounts of 
those who witnessed them, have afforded some of the most 
interesting exhibitions of forensic talent. Those who knew 
hotli 'men must feel assured that, upon such occasions, 
genius must have burst forth in all her variegated aspects. 
Hero eloquence could give her proudest specimens, and often 
exhibit her proudest laurels. Tlie one, with smooth and 
mellifluous accents, with chaste and elegant simplicity, 
winning the hearts and judgments of the jury ; the other 
brandishing with terrible effect the many-edged sword of 
argument, vehemence, wit, imagination, and satire. . . . 
It was not at term that his worth was most conxpicnons. 
At iiisi-prius his greatness was most resplendent. There, 
in his charges to the jury, and his melting appeals to the 
hardened culprit about to be consigned to the prison or the 
gallows, might be seen developed the resources of his 
original and comprehensive mind. I have seen desperate 
and hard-hearted villainy melt and tremble under his pathetic 
appeals. I have heard of pathos in books upon rhetoric, 
but never have I heard it so successfully exemplified as by 
the subject of this memoir. Not forgetting the feelings of 
the 7nan in the severe duties of the judge, he often gave 
proof unequivocal that he felt as well as apoke. In causes 
where life was at stake, where_ cruelty was to receive 
its just retribution, and where the assassin of reputation 
was to be reproved by the verdict of the jury, I have heard 
break from him strains of eloquence potent as electricity. 
I would not derogate from the reputation of the eminent 
judges with whom he was associated, but I know that thei/ 
unitedly contend that, in charging a jury, he had no equal, 
neither in this State nor this country." 

In 1820 an unjustifiable and cruel attempt was made by 

® The professional brother referred to was Elisha Williams, who 
was constantly his antagonist in oases argued before the courts. It 
is told of Mr. Williams that, on hearing of the appointment of Mr. 
Van Ness to the bench, he exclaimed, " Thank God ! I have now no 
longer an opponent to beat me by asking the foreman of the jury for 
a chew of tobacco." 

political opponents to blast the character of Judge Van 
Ness, by allegations of corruption on his part in the matter 
of the chartering of the Bank of America, which will be 
found noticed more at length in the mention of the Bank 
of Columbia, in the history of the city of Hudson, as also 
the testimony given by his friend, Elisha Williams, before 
a committee appointed by the Legislature, which testimony 
had the effect of fully exonerating and acquitting Judge 
Van Ness, by the report of that committee, made April 6, 
1820. Of that report, and upon the circumstances of the 
case, one of the leading journals of that day remarked as 
follows : 

" After a long, faithful, and impartial examination, the 
committee appointed for the purpose of examining the 
official conduct of Hon. William W. Van Ness made their 
satisfactory report to the State Legislature, and we feel a 
sincere gratification in saying that the elevated character of 
our judiciary stands unimpaired, and the reputation and 
integrity of one of its most useful ornaments untouched 
and unsullied. The report, though brief, is full, satisfac- 
tory, and conclusive. He has passed through the ordeal 
unharmed, and that too at a period of party excitement 
almost without a parallel. Every engine that party rage, 
wealth, and influence could command has been set in 
motion to impeach his conduct, with certain charges pre- 
ferred him by the editors of the [New York] Ameri- 
can, but, after the strictest scrutiny, nothing could be proved 
against him. On the contrary, his innocence has been 
completely established and the purity of the bench declared 
by the unanimous voice of the people through their repre- 
sentatives. We congratulate the public upon the honorable 
exculpation of this distinguished citizen and brilliant orna- 
ment of the bench." 

While this investigation was yet in progress. Judge Am- 
brose Spencer wrote to Solomon Van Rensselaer these 
words of cheer and confidence : " Your friend. Judge Van 
Ness, I have no doubt will come out as pure as gold from 
the refiner's hands." And the prediction proved true ; but 
the attempt to impeach him, though it failed, cast a shadow 
over the life of Van Ness, from which he never recovered, 
and which, it is said, accelerated the disease which carried 
him to an early grave. 

Upon his retirement from the Supreme bench he re- 
moved to New York, and there resumed the practice of his 
profession ; but his health rapidly declined, and at the close 
of the year 1822 his physician bade him, as a last resort, 
to seek the milder climate of the south. A few days be- 
fore setting out on this, which proved his last journey, he 
addressed a most touching letter " to Solomon Van Rens- 
selaer and Dr. William Bay, Albany," between whom and 
hiuLSclf, as appears, some unpleasant feelings had been en- 
gendered Dr. Bay was the son of John Bay, of Clav- 
erack, and had married a sister of Judge Van Ness. The 
letter referred to was as follows : 

" New Yore, Monday, Deo. 30, 1822. 

" Mv DEAH Frienps, — This year is about drawing to a close, and 
I wish to terminate it in peace with all mankind if I can. I wrote 
you a letter some time ago, containing, no doubt, many expressions 
highly improper, cruel, and unjust. The only .atonement I can make 
is to ask your pardon and forgiveness. My wife, myself, and ser- 
vant (by the advice of Dr. Post) sail for Charleston on Thursday, 


Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, depending on wind and weather. If 
you sliould become reconciled to me, let me hear from you both every 
once in a while. May <xod enable you, may God suffer you, to enjoy 
many happy returns of the season ! 

"Your sincere friend, 

" W. W. Va.v Ness." 

The change of climate wrought no healing either to body 
or spirit. He died in Charleston, S. C, Feb. 27, 1823, at 
the age of forty-seven years, and his remains were brought 
back and buried in the church-yard at Claverack. At a 
meeting of the Columbia bar, convened upon the announce- 
ment of his death, March 22, 1823, Elisha Williams said 
of him, " lie was indeed the pride, the ornament, the 
patron of our bar. How often has he animated and ad- 
monished those who now hear me to strive for honorable 
profession ! How has he encouraged the retiring, timid 
youth ! how pruned the luxuriant shoots of genius, careful 
to detect and faithful to disclose to each his errors ! 

"The heart of our brother was a stranger to that jeal- 
ousy which narrow minds feel at a rival's success. His 
soul exulted in the rising fame and increasing prosperity of 
his professional brethren. The honor of the bar he con- 
sidered as the property of the State, — and he who contrib- 
uted most to swell this common fund he regarded as the 
greatest public benefactor. 

" Careless of the acquisition of weath, he has left little 
of it to his bereaved family. But he has left to them and 
to posterity a legacy more valuable than riches, more dura- 
ble than marble." 


General Jacob R. Van Rensselaer was born in Claverack 
in 1767. He was bred a lawyer, practiced his profession in 
his native town, and became one of the most distinguished 
members of the bar, even of Columbia county. He was 
several times elected to the Legislature, and in 1812 was 
speaker of the Assembly. He was appointed secretary of 
state of the State of New York in 1814, and was a mem- 
ber of the constitutional convention of 1821. In the War 
of 1812 he commanded troops which were drafted in Co- 
lumbia county, and were ordered to the defense of the city 
of New York. He was the intimate personal and political 
friend of Elisha Williams and Judge Van Ness, — these three 
being for years the leaders of the Federalist party in Co- 
lumbia. He was a man of great ability, an excellent 
and ready debater, a prominent patriot, a most genial and 
liberal-minded gentleman, and always during his life en- 
joyed great popularity, and stood high in the respect of the 
people of the county. He died Sept. 22, 1835. at the age 
of sixty-eight. 

Chief-Justice Ambrose Spencer was the son of Philip 
Spencer, and was born in the State of Connecticut, Dec. 
13, 1765. He entered Yale College in 1779, and remained 
there more than two years, but completed his college course 
at Harvard University, in 1783, before he had reached the 
age of eighteen years. He commenced the study of law in 
the office of John Canfield, at Sharon, Conn. ; but in 1785 
he came to Claverack, where he entered the office of John 
Bay, Esq., who was then a leading lawyer. He was admit- 

ted to the bar in 1789, and in the same year was appointed 
clerk of the city of Hudson. In 1793 he was elected a 
memberof Assembly from Columbia, and in 1795 was elected 
to the Senate from the eastern district of the State, making his 
first appearance as senator in January, 1796. He was made 
assistant attorney-general for the judicial district compo.sed of 
Columbia and Dutchess counties, and in 1798 was re-elected 
to the Senate, being at the same time a member of the 
council of appointment. In February, 1802, he was ap- 
pointed attorney-general of the State, and held that office 
until 1804, when he resigned it to accept a seat upon the 
Supreme bench, to which he was at that time appointed, 
and on which he served for nineteen years, during the last 
four of which he filled the position of chief-justice, having 
received that appointment in 1819. 

About the time of his elevation to the bench he re- 
moved from Hudson to Albany, and resided in that city 
until 1839, when he retired to the village of Lyons, in 
Wayne county, N. Y., where he died, March 13, 1848, in 
the eighty-third year of his age. 

No man in the State of New York ever wielded a polit- 
ical power more nearly absolute than that which was pos- 
sessed by Judge Spencer, from the time he was first made 
a member of the council of appointment, in 1797, until 
after his appointment as chief-justice. In his profession 
he was solid rather than brilliant, and his gigantic mind 
could grasp and comprehend the most abstruse subjects. 
" Upon the bench he had no compeer ; and it was but com- 
mon praise when he was styled, by contemporary lawyers, 
' the Mansfield of America.' " 


was one of the great men and eminent lawyers of Columbia 
county. He was born at Kinderhook, in March, 1747, and 
was educated at King's (now Columbia) College. It was 
while a member of this institution that he formed those 
rare and interesting friendships with his fellow-students, 
John Jay, Egbert Benson, Gouverneur Morris, Chancellor 
Livingston, and others, whose names afterwards became 
famous in the annals of the country. 

In January, 1769, he was admitted to the bar of the 
Supreme Court, and immediately thereafter opened a law- 
office in the city of New York. At the age of twenty-five 
he was appointed sole reviser of the laws of the colony. 
His revision embraced the statutes enacted during a period 
of eighty-two years, — 1691 to 1773. The work was pub- 
lished in the latter year, in two large folio volumes. He 
had but just risen from the performance of this labor, con- 
templating the stability of existing institutions, when the 
turmoils of the Revolution commenced. He was a member 
of the first committee of correspondence chosen in New 
York, in May, 1774, and of the subsequent committee of 
one hundred ; and, as a further peaceful remedy, he forbore 
to drink tea in his family, urging a similar course upon his 
friends. But, upon the initiation of warlike measures, he 
retired with his fiimily to Kinderhook. 

Although he disapproved of the acts of Great Britain, 
he did not think them of a character to justify extreme 

* Furniehed by H. C. Van Sehaack, Esq., of Manlius, N. T. 


measures of resistance. Conservative in his views and 
principles, and sensitive by nature, he shrank from an en- 
counter with the acerbities and horrors of a civil war. He 
consequently assumed the position of neutrality, which he 
inviolably maintained. His political separation, at this 
period, from many of his most intimate friends who be- 
came prominent actors in the Revolution, rendered this the 
most trying period of his life. Severe domestic afflictions 
also, in the deaths, in quick succession, of three of his 
children, followed soon after by the death of his wife, added 
their pangs to those occasioned by political alFairs ; and 
physical suffering also was joined, in his person, to the un- 
happiness of exile. The sight of one of his eyes had 
become seriously impaired, probably from their too steady 
and severe use in his revision of the statutes, and he ob- 
tained Governor Clinton's written permission, in the early 
part of 1778, to visit England, to have an operation per- 
formed on it, as soon as the state of the country should 
admit of it. In ignorance of this permission, the commis- 
sioners of conspiracies ordered his banishment from the 
country, on the ground of his being an influential citizen 
observing a neutrality in the public troubles, considered by 
them to be of dangerous tendency. Accordingly, in October, 
1778, Mr. Van Schaack took ship at New York for Eng- 
land, where he remained nearly seven years. Henry Cruger, 
whose sister Mr. Van Schaack had married in 17GS, was 
at this time a member of Parliament, having been chosen, 
in 1774, a co representative with Edmund Burke, for the 
city of Bristol, in the English House of Commons. Mr. 
Van Schaack, while in England, spent most of his time in 
London, frequently attending tbe debates in Parliament, 
and enjoying rare opportunities for becoming acquainted 
with the public characters and political affairs, a circum- 
stance which imparted to his subsequent history a peculiar 
interest. He was in London during Lord George Gordon's 
riots, and through the memorable changes of the ministry. 
He witnessed the downfall of one set of cabinet ministers 
for their hostility to America ; the abrupt secession of an- 
other; the dissolution of a third; the grand coalition which 
formed the fourth, and which was itself soon after dis- 
missed by royal interposition, making shipwreck of the 
political reputations of some of the greatest statesmen in 
the empire ; and he participated in the interesting discus- 
sions to which these extraordinary political revolutions gave 
rise. Among those political papers was a caustic letter, 
written by him to Charles James Fox, exposing the incon- 
sistencies of that minister. 

It is an interesting fact that, aft«r a year's residence in 
England, Mr. Van Schaack's early political views under- 
went considerable change, and he came to the conclusion, 
from what he there saw, that the British government was 
not entitled to that credit for honesty of purpose in regard 
to American affairs for which he had given it credit. 

In August, 1785, Mr. Van Schaack returned to the 
United States. On his arrival in the city of New York he 
was received with open arms by his countrymen, all classes 
vying in their attentions irrespective of former differences of 
political sentiment. By an act of the Legislature, passed 
in January, 1786, he, with a number of other individuals 
of high character and known integrity, who were in the 

same situation, were restored to the rights of citizenship. 
He was soon after re-admitted to the bar, and resumed the 
practice of his profession in his native village. For about 
twenty-five years he attended the courts and was active in 
his profession, when, by the gradual impairment of the 
sight of his remaining eye, he became totally blind. He 
then gave his principal attention to the instruction of young 
gentlemen in the study of the law, a large number of whom 
have received more or less of their legal education at his 
hands. Among those students were Cadwallader D. Col- 
den, John Suydam, John C. Spencer, Joseph D. Monell, 
James I. Roosevelt, and William Kent. 

Mr. Van Schaack was distinguished for classical scholar- 
ship, for purity and elegance of taste, and for profound 
knowledge of the English common law. The highest con- 
temporaneous authority* pronounced him " the model of a 
scholar, a lawyer, and a gentleman." His classical scholar- 
ship, in connection with his profound knowledge of law, 
procured for him from Columbia College, his Alma Mater, 
the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. 

Afllicted for the last twenty years of his life with total 
blindness, he lived in retirement at his seat in Kinderhook, 
devoting his time to cla.ssical and legal instruction, and 
supporting himself under his severe privation, in unabated 
cheerfulness, upon the resources of a memory enriched 
with ancient and modern literature, and thoroughly familiar 
with the sublimity of Milton and the blind Masonides. He 
died on the 17th of September, 1832, in the eighty-sixth 
year of his age. His life, prepared by his son, Henry 
C. Van Schaack, was published by D. Appleton & Co., in 
1842, in an octavo volume of five hundred pages, and it 
has been favorably criticised in the North Amcriam Re- 
view by Charles Francis Adams and Lorenzo Sabine, as 
well as by other eminent critics. 


John, the second son of Martin Van Buren, was born at 
Hudson, February 18, 1810. He graduated at Yale Col- 
lege in the year 1828, and commenced the study of the 
law in the ofiice of Benjamin F. Butler, the former law- 
partner of his father. His legal course was completed with 
Aaron Vanderpoel, at Kinderhook, and he was admitted to 
the bar in July, 1831. Soon after this time his father was 
appointed minister to England, and John accompanied him 
as secretary of legation. Upon his father's rejection by the 
Senate, both returned to the United States. 

" From the date of his return with his father, Mr. Van 
Buren went back to his desk and his law-books, and for 
several years pursued the practice of his profession with 
assiduity and success. 

" During this interval he visited England, in 1838, on 
professional business. His position, not more than his 
personal accomplishments, gave him at once the entree into 
the most exclusive circle in the world. The young repub- 
lican was the lion of a whole London winter. The proud 
men and women of a proud aristocracy were disarmed in 
spite of themselves by a manner and breeding as perfect as 
their own. His success at court was regarded as a sort of 

» Chancellor Kent. 


social phenomenon, and furnished more additions to the 
city gossip of the papers in London and this country than 
an event of state importance. Democracy, his nursing 
mother, might have feared for her child when she saw him 
the object of such blandishments and graces, the centre of 
the favors and honors of the first court in Europe. But 
he was of higher mould than that. lie was reserved for 
greater things. 

" Before his return he spent a considerable time in Ire- 
land. The generous hospitalities of a warm-hearted people 
were lavished on the son of a Democratic President of the 
United States, and in more than one city he was con- 
strained to decline the honor of a public entertainment. 

" Considerations of obvious propriety connected with 
his father's public relations to the Democratic party, and 
subsequently an irreparable domestic affliction (the death 
of his wife), kept him in comparative retirement until 
about 1845."* 

In that year he was nominated by the " Barnburners," 
and elected by the Legislature to the office of attorney- 
general of the State, and in that position was distinguished 
by a skill and ability which few, even of his friends, ex- 
pected to find in him, and which gave him at once a very 
high position at the bar of New York. One of the most 
noted prosecutions conducted by him was that of Smith W. 
Boughton, or " Big Thunder," the anti-rent chief, in 1845. 

We copy from the Bench and Bar an account of a per- 
sonal collision which occurred during that trial, between 
the attorney-general and Ambrose L. Jordan, Esq., in the 
court-house at Hudson, as follows : 

"The trial of the anti-renters forms an interesting epoch 
in the legal history of the State of New York Their de- 
fense before the courts was as determined, skillful, and bold 
as their revolt had been outrageous and obstinate. Every 
point that legal skill and learning could devise was inter- 
posed to save them from punishment. When defeated in 
one court they appealed to another, until their conviction 
was finally affirmed in the court of last resort. 

" The leading counsel for the defense was Ambrose L. 
Jordan, of the Columbia bar, one of the ablest lawyers of 
his day. His learning and abilities are evinced by a long 
and brilliant professional career. 

" Several of the leading anti-l-enters, including ' Big 
Thunder,' were brought to trial at the Columbia oyer and 
terminer, which held its sittings at Hudson, N. Y., in 
September, 1845. John Van Buren was then attorney- 
general of the State, and of course to him was committed 
the duty of assisting James Storm, then district attorney 
of Columbia county, in the prosecution of the offenders. 
There was much in the circumstances connected with the 
case to excite and exasperate counsel, and as the trial pro- 
ceeded their acerbity towards each other increased until a 
personal collision became imminent. 

" John W. Edmonds, then one of the circuit judges, pre- 
sided. He discharged his judicial duties inflexibly and yet 
courteously. Perhaps a more independent and pure judge 
than he never sat on the bench of the Supreme Court of 
the State. But the position he occupied on this occasion 

» From the New York Atlas of May 14, 1848. 

was trying in the extreme. Before him were two of the 
most renowned counselors in the State glaring at each 
other with the ferocity of opposing gladiators, ready to 
rend each other in brutal conflict. For a long time the 
forbearance, dignity, and firmness of the judge restrained 
them, keeping them within the pale of respectful deference 
to the place they occupied. But as the fourth day of 
the trial was drawing to a close, a scene occurred rarely 
witnessed in a court of justice. The vindictive passions of 
the counsel pa.ssed beyond judicial control, and a personal 
encounter ensued. Both lawyers had for some time indulged 
in personalities which the judge could not suppress. Re- 
tort followed retort, and denunciation was met by bitter 

" At length Mr. Jordan, while addressing the court as 
to the admissibility of certain evidence offered by Mr. Van 
Buren, indulged in language the most bitter and insulting. 
In the course of his remarks he said, ' The attorney- 
general does not care for the condition of these men. He 
has not contended for right or justice, but to make an ex- 
hibition of himself, — to pander to the miserable ambition 
which was the curse of his father. Though his father had 
brains to temper his wild ambition in some degree, the son 
has none to temper his, and it breaks out everywhere in 
puerility and slush.' 

" Van Buren answered the legal objections raised by 
Jordan with great calmness, force, and dignity. Having 
concluded his argument, he said, with contempt curling his 
lips, ' The counsel opposed has informed your honor the 
cause of my presence here. I shall not stoop to deny his 
coarse assertions ; but allow me to add that it is quite out 
of place for a man who stands here in this court with the 
contributions of murder and arson in his pockets to criti- 
cise me for any cause whatever.' 

" A dark, withering frown mounted the menacing fea- 
tures of Jordan ; his nostrils expanded ; vivid gleams of 
anger flashed from his large, expressive eyes, and in the 
twinkling of an eye he planted a heavy blow upon the face 
of Van Buren. It was returned with the rapidity of light- 
ning and with staggering effect ; then, grappling with each 
other, a terrible struggle ensued. Rage and fury rendered 
these great lawyers forgetful of their positions as ministers 
of justice, deaf to the voice of the judge, to everything but 
their desire for vengeance. But Sheriff Waldo with his 
assistants rushed into the bar and separated the infuriated 
combatants before the contest proceeded to any extremity. 

" As soon as order was restored Judge Edmonds ad- 
dressed them with great calmness, dignity, and eloquence. 
He alluded to the high standing of the counsel, not only 
before the State but before the nation ; to the baleful ex- 
ample they had set before the world ; to their desecration 
of the temple of justice ; to the great insult which they 
had given the court. 'Should I neglect,' he continued, 
' to promptly punish you for the great wrong you have done 
I should myself be unworthy to occupy the bench. The 
court regrets that it did not punish your first infraction of 
the rules of decency ; but as that is passed, it will now, by 
a proper interposition of the strong arm of the law, inflict 
such a punishment upon you as will preserve its dignity, 
and, we trust, prevent a recurrence of the disgi'aceful scene 



we have just witnessed. The court therefore sentences both 
of you to solitary confinement in the county jail for tweuty- 
four hours.' 

" When the judge concluded, Mr. Van Buren arose and 
with impressive dignity made an apology, couched in words 
of touching eloquence, concluding as follows : 

" ' What could I do, your honor, what could I do under 
the coarse insults I have been subjected to during this trial ? 
I acknowledge I have violated the decorum of this court, 
and should be punished. But I pray your honor not to 
degrade me by punishment in the common jail, for I feel 
that I cannot endure that. I beg your honor to so for 
modify the sentence of the court as to inflict a fine upon 
me, — I care not how large the amount may be. The ex- 
ample of such a fine would be sufficient, and I am sure 
justice would be vindicated.' 

" But the judge was firm and inexorable, — the very per- 
sonification of justice in the act of inflicting due punish- 
ment upon its ministers. ' The court,' said the judge, ' can 
see no reason for modifying its sentence ; the supremacy of 
the law must be maintained. It is no respecter of persons ; 
it looks only to their acts, and measures out its punishment 
according to those acts, without regard to the standing of 
the actors. SheriflF, you will now conduct these persons to 
the jail of the county, and keep them and each of them in 
solitary confinement for the term of twenty-four hours, dur- 
ing which time this court will adjourn.' 

" Amid the profound, almost stifling silence, the sheriff 
obeyed, and in his custody two of the most eminent lawyers 
(if the State of New York passed out of the court-house, 
and were soon incarcerated within the walls of Columbia 
county jail. 

" Before the opening of the court on the morning of the 
altercation described. Judge Edmonds had received an in- 
vitation to spend an evening with ex-President Van Buren 
at Lindenwald. John was to be his companion in the visit, 
but before the appointed time arrived he was committed to 

" The term for which Van Buren and Jordan had been 
imprisoned having expired, they entered the court-room 
with a nonchalance that was really amusing, and the trial 
was resumed. An hour or two elapsed, when a short re- 
ces.s took place, during which Van Buren approached the 
bench, laid his arm carelessly but easily upon it, and, in his 
peculiar manner, remarked, — 

" ' I hope your honor slept well last night.' 

" ' As there was nothing to disturb my slumbers, I most 
certainly did,' was the reply. 

" ' I thought perhaps it might be possible that your con- 
science, your sympathy, or the thoughts of our unenviable 
position, might disturb your slumbers,' said Van Buren, 
with a characteristic smile. ' But,' he continued, ' the 
law is now vindicated ; my offense, at least, is atoned. 
I suppose, judge, our arrangement to visit the old man 
is still in force. He will be delighted to see me under 
the circumstances, and, judge, I think his respect for 
you, on the whole, will not be diminislied on account of 
the lodgings you assigned mc last night. I know him 
of old.' 

" ' I think, Mr. Van Buren, the time we have lost in this 

trial will render the visit to ex-President Van Buren im- 
possible.' And the visit to the old man did not take place. 

" The trial continued several days after the release of the 
distinguished prisoners. It finally resulted in the convic- 
tion of ' Big Thunder' and several anti-rent leaders, and they 
were .sentenced to imprisonment for life in the State-prison. 

" The manner in which Van Buren conducted this pros- 
ecution gave him great popularity. Among other evidences 
of popular favor, he was, with the anti-rent leader, made 
the subject of the following conundrum : 

" ' Why is John Van Buren a greater man than Dr. 
Franklin ?' 

" ' Because Franklin bottled lightning, but Van Buren 
bottled thunder.' " 

After the close of his term he became a prominent mem- 
ber of the legal profession in the city of New York. In 
the presidential canvass of 1848 he greatly distinguished 
himself as a popular advocate of the principles of the free 
Democratic party, and of the exclusion of slavery from the 
territories. Afterwards he returned to the Democratic 

In 18G6 he made an extended tour in Europe, and died 
on the homeward passage. 


John C., son of Judge Ambrose Spencer, was born in the 
city of Hudson, Jan. 8, 1788. He entered Williams Col- 
lege in 1803, but graduated at Union College, Schenectady, 
in 1806. He studied law in Albany, and was admitted to 
the bar in May, 1809. 

Although a native of, he was never long a resident in, 
Columbia county. In February, 1815, he was appointed 
district attorney for the five extreme western counties of the 
State, and held that office for about three years. In 1816 
he was elected to Congress for the Twenty-first district, but 
declined a re-election. In 1820 he was chosen to the As- 
sembly, and elected speaker upon its organization. After- 
wards he served several terms in the Assembly. He was 
elected senator in 1824, taking his seat in 1825. In April, 
1827, he was appointed, with B. F. Butler and John Duer, 
to revise the statutes of the State. 

In February, 1839, he was appointed secretary of state 
of New York, and in 1840 a regent of the university. In 
1841 (October) he was appointed secretary of war under 
President Tyler, and in March, 1843, secretary of the 
treasury, which latter office he resigned May 1, 1844, in 
consequence of his disagreeing with the President on the 
question of the annexation of Texas. 

On the 19th day of July, 1865, I united, with others, 
in depositing in the tomb in the cemetery of Hudson the 
mortal remains of Ambrose L. Jordan. He departed this 
life on the 16th day of July, at his residence in New York, 
and appropriate funeral services had been held on the 18th 
at the Church of the Transfiguration in that city. He died 
at the mature age of seventy-six years, having been born 

* From the pen of Hon. Henry Hogeboom. 



in Hillsdale, in the county of Columbia, on the 5th day of 
May, 17S9. 

As he was a native and long a resident of our county, 
as he reached high distinction in his profession, and as he 
was one of the remaining links between the present and a 
past generation, it seems not unbecoming that here in the 
county of his birth some slight record should be preserved 
of the principal incidents of his career. 

Mr. Jordan, it is believed, received a fair, though not 
a collegiate, education, and improved in the best manner 
the advantages which were thrown in his way. At the 
early age of twenty-three (in 1812) he is found in the 
practice of his profession at Cooperstown, in the county of 
Otsego, where his abilities were not unappreciated, for dur- 
ing his brief residence of seven or eight years in that 
county, in addition to a leading practice at the bar, he 

just named, with others of equal or nearly equal eminence, 
were splendid luminaries of the legal profession. 

But the period which immediately followed, under the 
constitution of 1821, was one of no small consideration in 
the annals of the profession in Columbia county. Most of 
the names just referred to had disappeared from the public 
view. Tiie judges lost their office by the passage of the 
new constitution. Spencer renewed the practice of his 
profession, but scarcely sustained the fame which had 
maiked his judicial career. Kent was soon appointed to 
be professor of law in Columbia College, and gave to the 
world those inestimable Commentaries which will forever 
honorably associate his name with the history of American 

Thompson, having previously been appointed secretary 
of the navy, was transferred to the bench of the Supreme 


filled the responsible offices of surrogate and district at- 

About the year 1 820 he was recalled to his native county 
of Columbia, and it is no small compliment to his growing 
reputation that, as common fame affirms, he was invited 
here by his friends to be the rival and antagonist of Elisha 
Williams, then in the full maturity of his great powers 
and at the very zenith of his flime. 

Perhaps the Augustan age of the law in this county 
had already passed, an age in which, under the old consti- 
tution, Spencer and Kent and Thompson and Van Ness 
presided at the circuits, and Williams and Van Buren and 
Oakley and Grosvenor flourished at the bar. Those were 
grand old times ; and although, doubtless, distance lends a 
somewhat factitious magnitude and enchantment to the 
view, it cannot be questioned that the judges and lawyers 

Court of the United States, which he long adorned by his 
great abilities. Van Ness fell a victim to an insidious dis- 
ease, and in 1823, at the early age of forty-eight yeai-s, 
closed a professional and judicial career of uncommon 
brilliancy. Grosvenor was also dead. Oakley was soon 
appointed to the bench of the Superior Court in the city 
of New York. Van Buren had already, to a great extent, 
withdrawn from the practice of his profession, which he 
never again resumed to any marked degree, having entered 
the Senate of the United States in 1821, where he remained 
for many years. Of those just referred to by name, Wil- 
liams alone remained on the theatre of his former labors to 
claim or dispute pre-eminence with old or new competitors. 
But Columbia county was not undistinguished in the 
nest decade in the walks of the legal profession. There 
were (not to name others) Williams and Jordan and the 


Vanderpoels (James and Aaron), Monell, Tallmadge, Bush- 
nell, Killian Miller, and Robert H. Morris. Of these, it is 
no disparagement to the others to say that in the forensic 
department of the law Williams and Jordan took the lead. 
They were both, though widely different, highly accom- 
plished advocates. Williams was probably the greater 
genius, Jordan the more accomplished scholar ; Williams 
was rapid, ready, and impetuous, Jordan was more cau- 
tious, deliberate, and reflecting ; Williams would rush into 
the forensic battle relying upon the resources of his genius, 
Jordan would give to every cause the most careful prepara- 
tion. The latter was not so much distinguished for quick- 
ness of perception in the rapid change of tactics, yet no 
living speaker had a finer vocabulary at his command, was 
keener at repartee, or knew better how to put the right word 
in the right place. Jordan was a man of fine person, of 
dignified and commanding presence, and easy and graceful 
elocution, of impressive manner, of musical voice, and of 
great fluency of speech. Though not indifferent to political 
advancement, he wisely confined himself for the most part 
to the appropriate duties of his profession, where, more than 
in any other sphere, he was adapted to shine ; he was, 
nevertheless, in several instances the recipient of political 
and ofiicial honors, — those already alluded to, — he having 
been surrogate and district attorney of Otsego county while 
resident therein. In 1821, soon after his removal to Hud- 
son, he was appointed recorder of that city, which oflBce he 
held for several years. In 1824 he was elected to the 
Assembly. In 1825, for a period of four years, to the Sen- 
ate of this State, which office, after three years' service, he 
resigned. In 1846, though then a resident of the city of 
New York, he was elected to the constitutional convention 
from the county of Columbia, and in 1847 he was made 
the first attorney-general of the State under the new con- 

But, as I have said, his tastes as well as his mental en- 
dowments inclined him to the practice of his profession. 
He continued to reside in Hudson until the year 1838, and 
was largely in demand as counsel in the neighboring circuits. 
Williams had died in 1833 ; but, in addition to those of his 
own county, Jordan found able antagonists in various por- 
tions of the State, prominent among them being Samuel 
Stevens, Marcus T. Reynolds, Henry G. Wheaton, Henry 
R. Storrs, and Samuel Sherwood. 

In 1834 he removed to the ciiy of New York, and there 
for a period of twenty years he was laboriously engaged in 
the practice of his profession, taking high rank therein, 
especially in the department of advocacy, among the distin- 
guished lawyers of the metropolis. He never failed to 
serve his clients with devoted zeal and uncompromising 
fidelity ; and if in the heat of forensic contest he, like 
others of his profession, sometimes indulged in a vein of 
ridicule, of sarcasm, or of severe denunciation, for which 
he was well qualified by the copiousness and force of his 
vocabulary, no one who knew him will ever deny to him 
the possession of an honest, manly heart, or believed him to 
be insensible to the instincts of generosity and friendship. 

But the burden of his professional cures was ultimately 
too weighty for even his vigorous constitution, and — -some- 
where I think about the year 1859 — he was stricken down 

with paralysis, and this calamity necessitated his withdrawal 
from active pursuits. Since that time he lived for the 
most part in the privacy, serenity, and happiness of domestic 
life, and has at last yielded to that summons which all must 
ultimately obey. 

His talents and his virtues entitle him to a more ex- 
tended and formal notice, but I have thought this brief 
tribute would not be altogether unacceptable to his friends 
from one who knew him well. 


The death of one so distinguished as Ambrose L. Jordan 
is an event which emphatically calls forth from those who 
have been associated with him in professional life tokens 
of respect and manifestations of personal regard. 

The name of Mr. Jordan is associated with my earliest 
recollections of the bar of this county. I well remember 
the part he took in the trial of Taylor, for murder, and in 
the case of Poucher vs. Livingston, two of the most cele- 
brated cases in the annals of the law in this county. 

While I was a student, Mr. Jordan occupied a most com 
manding position at the bar. He was engaged in most ol 
the cases which were tried, and he brought to the trial 
ability, eloquence, and wit which made him a most formid 
able antagonist and a most successful advocate. The trial 
of a cause in those days was an intellectual contest, a glad 
iatorial combat of mind against mind, which elicited all the 
powers and capacities of the man, and all the learning and 
genius of the advocate. Those may perhaps be character- 
ized as the brilliant days of the profession, when eloquence, 
learning, and debate were permitted free scope, without the 
restraints which increasing business and modern rules have 

In those days the courts were the great forum for the 
exhibition of clashing intellects striving for the mastery. 
When Williams and Jordan, and their compeers, Miller, 
Monell, Bushnell, Edmonds, and others, entered the arena, 
it was a struggle of giants. 

Mr. Jordan was distinguished for his manly beauty. 
With an erect, commanding form, an expressive face, and 
an eye which, in moments of excitement, flashed like the 
eagle's, his appearance never failed to attract attention and 
to create a most favorable impression. I have often thought 
that, in the prime of his life, he was the perfection of phys- 
ical and intellectual manhood. 

His style of oratory was of the highest order of forensic 
eloquence, his voice as soft and musical as the tones of the 
flute, his manner dignified and commanding, his elocution 
most fluent and graceful, and his diction in the highest de- 
gree terse, vigorous, and elegant. 

Although cool and deliberate in the trial of causes, he 
was quick at repartee and keen and unsparing in invective., 
He was the possessor of rare wit and a bitter sarcasm, qual- 
ities which were often displayed in his addresses to juries 
as well as in the cross-examination of witnesses. Unfortu- 
nate indeed was he who became the subject of his scathing 
rebuke. No speaker had greater power of scornful ex- 
pression than he possessed. 

* Written by Hon. Theodore Miller soon after Mr. Jordan's death.. 



Mr. Jordan was a man of great industry. His cases 
were always prepared with the utmost thoroughness. The 
large amount of business which claimed his attention made 
his life one of incessant labor. Gifted as he was, self-reliant 
as he was, yet he never, until near the close of his life, 
relaxed his habits of study and labor. 

Mr. Jordan removed from this city to the city of New 
York about the time I was admitted to the bar. There a 
larger field opened to him, and compensation more com- 
mensurate with his great abilities rewarded his efforts. 

No lawyer could be more devoted and faithful to his 
clients, or more earnest and effective in his advocacy of their 

In private life Mr. Jordan enjoyed the esteem of all who 
knew him. He was a man of generous sentiments, he had 
a high sense of honor, and was just and upright in all his 

He occupied during portions of his life places of political 
distinction, and it may be said that he enjoyed a full share 
of public honors, yet he never sought position or honors 
save those which belonged to his profession. His heart 
was in the profession to which he devoted himself. He 
loved its learning, its principles, its contests, and its victories 
with the enthusiasm of the true lawyer. 

The name of Ambrose L. Jordan will occupy a place not 
only with those who have conferred distinction on this 
county, but with the most distinguished and honored men 
of the State. 

He has gone to his last rest full of years and crowned with 
the triumphs of a biilliaut career. He left the field of his 
labors with a character unblemished, and with a professional 
renown which will make his bright example an encourage- 
ment to those who are traveling the same rugged path of 
professional labor. 


Mr. Grosvenor was born December, 1780, in the town 
of Pomfret, in the State of Connecticut. He spent about 
two years at Williams College, and then entered Yale Col- 
lege, at the age of sixteen, and received the honors of 
that institution in the summer of 1800. Having finished 
his collegiate course with distinguished reputation, he im- 
mediately commenced the study of the law, under the in- 
struction of his brother-in-law, Elisha Williams, of Hudson, 
and in 1803 was admitted an attorney of the Supreme 
Court of the State of New York. Before his death he had 
successively become an active member of the courts of law 
and equity of this State and of the United States. Soon 
afler his admission as an attorney he opened an office in 
the village of Catskill, and entered upon the duties of his 
profession. Naturally possessing a clear head, a warm 
heart, and a giant intellect, a few efforts at the bar ac- 
quired for him the character of an able and successful 
advocate. Early in the summer of 1807 he removed from 
Catskill to Hudson. Here, having a wide field for the dis- 
play of his legal acquirements and forensic talents, his pro- 
fessional avocations were followed with brighter and more 
alluring prospects of distinction and usefulness. The 
electors of the county of Columbia, in April, 1809, nomi- 
nated him as one of their representatives in the State 

Legislature. No means which could blight tlie character 
or wound the feelings of an honorable and conscientious 
man were deemed unwarrantable or left untried by his 
political adversaries to defeat his election. Passion and 
party prejudice tran.scended the bounds of moral rectitude, 
and the contest was severe but fruitless; he was returned a 
member of the Legislative Assembly of the State. The 
ability and integrity with which he discharged the duties 
of a legislator, during the session of the succeeding winter, 
eminently entitled him to the love and confidence of his 
constituents. Ho was accordingly re-elected in 1810, and 
again in 1811. During part of this period he executed the 
oflBce of district attorney, having received a commission for 
that purpose in the spring of 1810. In the fall of 1812 
he was elected a representative to the Thirteenth Congress 
of the United States, and at the same time to supply a 
vacancy in the Twelfth Congress, occasioned by the resig- 
nation of Colonel Robert Le Roy Livingston. After his 
re-election to the Fourteenth Congress, in the spring of 
1814, he chiefly resided in the city of Baltimore. He died 
at Belmont, near Baltimore, on the 22d of April, 1817, in 
the thirty-seventh year of his age. 

We extract from an obituary notice of Mr. Grosvenor, 
published in the Alexandria, Va., Gazette, soon after his 
death, as follows: 

" His eloquence may be said to have amongst us consti- 
tuted a species. What is true of him would not be true of 
any other orator, — at least on this side of the Atlantic; 
nor do we know of one by a comparison with whom an 
adequate conception of Grosvenor's eloquence would be 
conveyed. Its kind was the same as that of the illustrious 
Charles James Fox ; in degree alone its essential difference 
consisted. The same ardent feeling, earnestness, and ani- 
mation ; the same overflowing fullness of conception and 
tumult of thoughts, which seemed as if they would burst 
the bosom that contained them in their struggles for pre- 
cedence ; the same apparent artlessness of arrangement, 
which diffused the glowing tint of nature through the 
complexion of every speech, and imparted to it a beauty 
and effect beyond the skill of wrought-up rhetoricians ; the 
same disdain of factitious, vulgar logic, and useless, gaudy 
drapery ; the same constant intermixture of matter of ftict 
and plain common sense with the most acute, refined, sub- 
tle reasoning, which distinguished Mr. Fox from all other 
orators, constituted the pre-eminent characteristics of Mr. 
Grosvenor's eloquence, and gave it that singular, felicitous 
advantage so seldom possessed by that which amongst us 
courtesy calls eloquence, namely, the stamp of sincerity 
and feeling. 

" It is certain that no man of discernment could have 
seen much of the great British orator and of Mr. Grosve- 
nor, when figuring in their respective senates, without pro- 
nouncing the latter to be the Charles Fox of the new 
world. . . . We have been told that a very able and acute 
speaker,* the representative in Congress from one of the 
new States, who had experienced the effect of these powers, 
once said, that for readiness and strength on any and every 
topic that arose in debate, or, as he emphatically called it. 

' Mr. Grundy, of Tennessee. 


' rough and tumble' in argument, Grosvenor had not an 
equal in Congress." 

the son of Colonel Medad Butler, was born in Kinderhook 
(the part which is now Stuyvesant), Dec. 15, 1795. He 
studied law with Martin Van Buren, and on being admitted 
to the bar, in 1817, became his partner. He was ap- 
pointed district attorney of Albany county in 1821, and 
held the office four or five years. In 1825 he was ap- 
pointed one of the commissioners to revise the statutes of 
New York, and in 1828 was a member of the State Assem- 
bly. He was attorney-general of the United States under 
General Jackson in 1831-34, and acting secretary of war 
from October, 1836, to March, 1837, and from 1838 to 
1841 he was United States district attorney for the south- 
ern district of New York. He was district attorney of the 
United States for the southern district of New York, by 
appointment of President Polk (after declining the office of 
secretary of war, tendered by him), from March, 1845, till 
September, 1848, when he was removed. He afterwards 
returned to the practice of the law in New York city, and 
was principal professor of law in the University of the City 
of New York, of which he had been one of the founders. 
During the greater part of his life he was an influential 
member of the Democratic party ; but on the passage of 
the Kansas-Nebraska bill abolishing the Missouri compro- 
mise he joined the Republicans, and voted for Fremont 
in 1856. 


Judge James Vanderpoel, son of Isaac Vanderpoel, was 
born in Kinderhook, Jan. 10, 1787. He was educated 
principally at Kingston, Ulster Co., and studied law with 
Francis Silvester, in Kinderhook, and afterwards with at- 
torneys in Kingston. 

He commenced the practice of his profession in 1808, at 
Kinderhook, where he remained until 1832. He was 
elected to terms in the Assembly in 1810, 1816, and 1820, 
and was appointed surrogate of Columbia in 1812. He 
was appointed judge of the common pleas of Columbia in 
1825, and circuit judge of the third circuit, by Governor 
Throop, in 1831. In the following year he removed to 
Albany, where he acquired a high reputation as a lawyer 
and a judge. As circuit judge of the third judicial district 
of this State, he was distinguished for learning, ability, and 
promptitude, for rapid and clear-sighted views of the law 
and the facts, as he was also in his intercourse with his fel- 
low-citizens for all manly and honorable qualities. He 
died Oct. 3, 1843, universally esteemed and regretted. 


was born in the town of Kinderhook, on the 5th day of 
February, 1790. His education was acquired at the com- 
mon school and at the academics of Kinderhook, and Lenox, 
Mass., which instruction was supplemented by classical 
training under his brother James, and Peter Van Schaack, 
Esq. He studied law in the office of his brother, and im- 
mediately after his admission to the bar (May, 1820) joined 
in professional partnershiii witli liiui. 

He was elected member of Assembly in 1825, and was 
again elected to the same office in 1829, and in both these 
ses.sions he took a prominent part in the debates. Ho was 
elected to Congress in 1832, 1834, and 1838, remaining in 
that body until March, 1841. 

Tlie stringent measures growing out of the veto of the 
bill to re-charter the United States Bank all originated soon 
after his first election, and agitated, during his whole term 
of service, not only the national Congress but the whole 
country. During all this time he was a firm supporter of 
the administration, having the full confidence of Presidents 
Jackson and Van Buren, of both of whom he was a warm 
personal as well as political friend. The files of the con- 
gressional debates and records of the proceedings show that 
he brought to the discharge of his duties during that period 
the same energy, industry, and ability which characterized 
his life. 

After his retirement from Congress, in 1841, he re- 
moved to the city of New York, where he resumed his 
profession, and in 1843, after a residence of less than two 
years, he was appointed one of the judges of the superior 
court of that city, and seiTed in that capacity seven years, 
ending on the 1st of January, 1850. He was a man of 
the most distinguished talents and tireless industry. 

was born in Claverack district (the part now the town of 
Ghent), in 1770. He was educated at Columbia College, 
and .studied law with Brockholst Livingston, in New York 
city. He commenced the practice of law in his native 
county, but did not long continue in it on account of ill 

In 1801 he was elected to Congress from the Columbia 
and Rensselaer district, and this led to his marriage, in 
1802, with a very wealthy lady of Washington, and his 
removal to that city as a place of residence. He became 
mayor of Washington, president of the Bank of the Me- 
tropolis, and major-general of the militia of the District of 
Columbia. He was one of the most prominent and influ- 
ential men in the capital city, and died there in March, 

was born in what is now the town of Ghent, about 1777; 
was educated at Columbia College, studied law with Edward 
Livingston, in New York, and commenced the practice of 
his profession there about 1800. He was appointed judge 
of the United States district court for the southern district 
of New York, by President Madison. He was Colonel 
Burr's second in the Hamilton duel, and was author of a 
pamphlet signed " Aristides," a bitter attack upon 
political opponents, but which evinced such remarkable 
powers of mind that Hammond says it had not been equaled 
in .style since the days of "Junius." He died suddenly in 
New York, Sept. 6, 1826. 

Governor C. P. Van Ness was born in the town of Kin- 
derhook, January 20, 17S2. At the age of eighteen he 
entered the law-office of his brother, William P. Van Ness, 


in New York. He was admitted to the bar in 180-i, and 
in the spring of 1806 he emigrated to Vermont, and located 
in the town of St. Albans, but in 1809 he removed to 
Burlington. In 1809 he was appointed United States dis- 
trict attorney for the district of Vermont, and was made 
collector of customs for the district in 1813. In 1816 
President Madison made him commissioner on the part of 
the United States to settle the northeastern boundary. In 
1818 he was elected to the Assembly of the State, and in 
1821 was appointed chief-justice of the Supreme Court of 
Vermont, which he held for two years, and was then elected 
governor of the State, to which office he was twice re-elected. 
In 1826 he declined re-election and returned to his profes- 
sion, which he pursued for three years, and in 1829 tem- 
porarily suspended it to accept the office of minister pleni- 
potentiary and envoy extraordinary to the court of Spain, 
which had been tendered him by President Jackson. Gov- 
ernor Van was a brother of John P. and William P., 
and a cousin of the gifted Judge W. W. Van Ness; and 
his career certainly did credit to his family name and to the 
county of his nativity. 


General William J. Worth was born in 1794, in a house 
which is still standing, on the south side of Union sireet, 
between Second and Third, in the city of Hudson. In 
this city, for a considerable time during his youth, he was 
a clerk in one of the stores. 

Upon the breaking out of the last war witli England 
young Worth was one of the first to apply for a military 
commission, and on the 19th of March, 1813, he was ap- 
pointed first lieutenant in the Twenty-third Infantry. In 
the battle of Chippewa he acted as aid-de-camp to General 
Scott, and was commissioned captain, Aug. 19, 1814. For 
good conduct in the battle of Niagara he received the com- 
mendation of his superior officers, and was advanced to the 
rank of major. At the close of the war he was placed in 
superintendence of the military academy at West Point. 
He was brevetted lieutenant-colonel, July 25, 1824 ; ap- 
pointed major of ordnance in 1832, and colonel of the 
Eighth Infantry, July 7, 1838. 

In the Florida war he performed excellent service. He 
was brevetted brigadier-general, March 1, 1842. He fought 
the battle of Palaklaklaha on the 19th of April in that 
year, completely defeating a large body of Semiiiolcs, and 
capturing their chiefs. 

In the Mexican war General Worth was with Taylor's 
column, and his second in command, leading the main 
part of the corps to the Rio Grande, while Taylor moved 
towards Point Isabel. Soon after he was superseded in the 
command of his division by General Twiggs, who, arriving 
on the ground, claimed the command by priority of com- 
mission. Upon this General Worth, considering himself 
aggrieved, left the army, proceeded to Washington, and 
tendered his resignation, but at the same time expressed 
the hope that if actual war should take place, he might be 
permitted to resume his place in the army. 

" While at Washington the aspect at the seat of war 
changed. News arrived of the danger of Taylor at Fort 

Brown, and soon after of the march to Point Isabel, and 
the battles of the 8th and 9th of May. Worth immediately 
applied for his commission ; it was granted, and he hurried 
on to Texas. He was received by General Taylor with 
open arms, and conducted the negotiations attending the 
capitulation of Matamoras. 

" But another and nobler field was now ofiered to him at 
Monterey. General Taylor, with the generosity of a true 
soldier, intrusted him with the attack upon the Bishop's 
palace, an almost impregnable fortress, commanding a steep 
and rocky height, and the key of the road to the interior. 
This was considered by the whole army as an almost des- 
perate undertaking, and none who saw the division of the 
general march from the camp towards the palace expected 
to see half of them return. 

" The peculiar situation of Worth favored this belief, as 
it was supposed that, in order to atone for his lost oppor- 
tunities and stop the voice of calumny, he would rush head- 
long into danger, and recover his reputation at every hazard. 
Worth acted differently. He felt his duty to the soldiers, 
and allowed no personal feeling to hinder its execution. 
Where the Americans expected the heaviest loss, and per- 
haps total failure, they were scarcely injured. During the 
whole time the troops labored in range of the enemy's guns, 
crossing ravines, climbing rocks and ledges, wading through 
water and carrying their cannon up precipitous cliffs. 
Worth was all the time on horseback, riding from post to 
post, and using every effort to cheer his men in their labori- 
ous duties. His conduct is mentioned by the commander 
in terms of the warmest approbation. 

" Worth was one of the commissioners at the negotiations 
for the capitulation, and performed efficient service during 
the evacuation of the city. He was subsequently detached 
to Saltillo, where he remained until January, at which time 
he marched for the Gulf coast to join General Scott. 

" At Vera Cruz, General Worth was the first officer that 
formed his troops in line after their landing. His services 
in the siege were valuable ; and he was the head of the 
American deputation to arrange the terms of capitulation. 
When the Mexicans had left the city. Worth was apjminted 
governor, and occupied it with his brigade. His prompt 
and exact measures soon resuscitated the trade and com- 
merce of the city, and repressed the disorders which had 
long disgraced it. 

" On the same day^ that the battle of Cerro Gordo was 
fought. Worth took unresisted possession of the town and 
fortress of Perote, in which were found immense stores of 
ammunition, cannon, mortars, and small arms. This is one 
of the strongest castles in Mexico. Here he remained for 
some time, principally engaged in perfecting the discipline of 
his army. The movements of Santa Anna called him from 
his retirement : and, after the battle of Cerro Gordo, he was 
very active in cutting off supplies from the Mexican camp. 
Early in May he advanced toward Puebla, and on the 14th 
he was met by Santa Anna, with a detachment of about 
three thousand men, most of them cavalry. A skirmish en- 
sued, several Mexicans were unhorsed, and the whole force 
returned to the city. 

" The next morning, before daylight, Santa Anna lefl for 
the interior, and at ten o'clock the Americans obtained 



quiet possession of the city, wnich contained a population of 

The services of General Worth in Mexico were fully 
appreciated by the government, and his storming of Mon- 
terey is regarded as one of the most brilliant exploits of that 

Having safely passed through the dangers and hardships 
of the Mexican struggle, General Worth was stricken by 
cholera, at San Antonio de Bexar, in Texas, and died there 
May 17, 1849. His remains are interred in the city of 
New York. Upon the roll of fame his name is clearly 
written as one of the most brilliant soldiere and heroes of 
the Mexican war. 

died at his seat, on the Hudson river, in the original town of 
Kinderhook (now Stuveysant), on the 18th day of July, 
1823, in the ninety-first year of his age. He was a native of 
Kinderhook village, having been born at that place in 1733. 
The events of his life, which cover nine decades of a century, 
were not without interest. For about forty years he was 
in public employ or oflScial station under the crown and 
province of New York before the Revolution, and in the 
commonwealth of Massachusetts after that event. He was 
on terms of intimacy with Sir William Johnson, and cor- 
responded with him on colonial afiFairs. He served under 
Sir William, then Major-General, Johnson, in the expedi- 
tion against Crown Point in 1755, being at that time lieu- 
tenant of a company of which Philip, afterwards the famous 
General, Schuyler, was captain. The accounts published at 
the time of one of the engagements between the English and 
French troops near Lake George, in September, 1755, speak 
of Lieutenant Van Schaack as having " distinguished him- 
self in that action.' He was then twenty-two years old. 
He served in the campaign against Niagara, and was then 
a major. He was at one time paymaster to the " New York 
Regiment," and afterwards held a special commission from 
the governor of the province as " Paymaster and Commis- 
sary of the Musters," and was obliged, in the performance of 
the duties of the latter office, to visit the military posts on 
the frontiers, where the troops were stationed. 

It was in this old French war, as it was called, that Mr. 
Van Schaack formed an interesting acquaintance with the 
then captain, and afterwards brigadier-general, Richard 
Montgomery. On his way to Canada, in 1775, Montgomery 
vLsited his early friend at Kinderhook, and left with him 
some tokens of remembrance. 

Mr. Van Schaack was postmaster at Albany from 1757 
to 1771, a period of fourteen years. During the greater 
part of this time he wa-s engaged in the Indian and fur 
trade, extending his operations, upon the conquest of 
Canada, to Detroit and Mackinaw, which then remote places 
he repeatedly visited at that early day. When at Detroit, 
on one occasion, he redeemed a white boy from captivity 
among the Indians by giving a silver tankard for him. The 
boy grew up to inanhood, was' established in business by 
Mr. Van Schaack, and was known through life by the name 
of Tankard. 

* Extracted from the '* Kough and Ready Annual." 

t Furnished by II. C. Van Schaack, Esq., of Manlius, New York. 

In 1769, Mr. Van Schaack removed from Albany to 
Kinderhook village. He was soon after appointed a justice 
of the peace, and one of the quorum, upon the recommen- 
dation of his friend. Sir William Johnson. He was also 
chosen supervisor of his native town at this period, and was 
continued in that ofiBce by annual re-election, and he also 
held the oflSce of magistrate until the administration of the 
laws was interrupted by the Revolution. He was a mem- 
ber of the Albany county committee of safety in 1774 ; and 
he, together with Robert Yates and Peter Silvester, were 
by that body nominated delegates to the memorable Con- 
tinental Congress, which met in Philadelphia in September 
of that year. The committee afterwards determined to send 
only one delegate, and General Schuyler was selected, but 
failing to attend, the New York city delegates were finally 
empowered to represent Albany county in that great Con- 
gress. Soon after this, Mr. Van Schaack ceased to take 
part in Revolutionary measures, having come to the con- 
clusion (as he quaintly expressed himself in a letter to a 
relative) that " people had got to that pass that they did 
not consider the qualifications of a king, for that they would 
have no king." 

At the close of the war Mr. Van Schaack became a citi- 
zen of Massachusetts, and fixed his residence at Pittsfield, 
in Berkshire county, where he erected a very substantial 
and tasty house, in an interesting position near that village, 
and devoted himself to agricultural pursuits. He was soon 
after called from a purposed retirement, becoming a decided 
" Government-man" in Shay's rebellion. This doubtless 
led to his being chosen, in 1786, a member of the Legis- 
lature of Massachusetts, known as " The General Court." 

He took an early and decided stand in support of the 
Federal constitution, employing his pen, and addressing his 
fellow-citizens, in favor of its adoption. For fourteen years 
he was a magistrate in Massachusetts by successive appoint- 
ments, made by Governors John Hancock and Caleb Strong. 
At an early day he became a member of the Massachusetts 
Society for Promoting Agriculture, and he was a member 
of the first board of trustees of Williams College, which 
latter position he occupied for about twenty years. 

The good sense, strength of mind, intelligence, high in- 
tegrity, courage, and decision of character, for all of which 
he was distinguished, admirably fitted him for the various 
positions in which he was placed ; while his urbane and 
jovial disposition, and extensive information, gave him, at 
all times, a welcome place in the social circle. His asso- 
ciates, from an early day, were men of mark ; and his own 
commanding good qualities are abundantly evidenced by 
the large number of eminent men who were visitors at his 
house during his twenty-four years' residence in Pittsfield, 
embracing in the list many of the most eminent characters 
in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. Prominent 
among those names (not to designate others) were Fisher 
Ames and Alexander Hamilton. Chief-Justice John Jay 
and Judge Bushrod Washington, of the Supreme Court of 
the United States, used to call on the Pittsfield farmer, when 
on their way to Vermont to perform their judicial duties. 
Distinguished foreigners were also among those visitors, 
including the ambassadors fiom Holland and England. 
Lebanon Springs, originally known as " The Pool," was 


then rapidly becoming the Bath of America ; and many of 
its frequenters found their way to the mansion at Pittsfield 
famed for its hospitaUty. 

In 1808, Mr. Van Schaack removed from Pittsfield to 
Kinderhook Landing, where he passed the residue of his 
life in comparative retirement. Some of his old surviving 
friends, however, followed him to his new abode ; among 
whom were Judge Oliver Wendell, of Boston, grandfather 
of the poet 0. W. Holmes, and his particular friend. Judge 
Egbert Benson, of New York. In the " History of Pitts- 
field," recently jmblished, a prominent and honored place is 
justly given to the name of Henry Van Schaack. 


Lieutenant William Howard Allen, United States navy, 
was a native of the city of Hudson, the date of his birth 
being July 8, 1790. While yet a child he was placed at 
school in London, England, but after about one year he 
returned to Hudson, where he was afterwards for a short 
time a pupil of the Hudson Academy. His education 
was completed at the seminary in Doylestown, Pa., and 
in the year 1808 he was appointed a midshipman in the 
United States navy. In 1811 he was commissioned sec- 
ond lieutenant, and afterwards assigned to duty on the 
"Argus." This vessel proceeded on her cruise until, on the 
13th of August, 1813 (this being during the last war with 
England), she fell in with, and at once engaged, the British 
sloop-of-war " Pelican." 

" Although this vessel was superior to her in size, 
men, and metal, yet the battle was long, severe, and bloody. 
Early in the action, Captain William Henry Allen was 
mortally wounded, and carried below ; shortly after, the first 
lieutenant, William H. Watson, was severely wounded, and 
taken to the ward-room. The command of the ' Argus' then 
devolved on Lieutenant William Howard Allen ; his con- 
duct was cool, deliberate, and such as received the admira- 
tion of the crew and the approbation and praise of his 
superior officers. After fighting was useless, the ' Argus' 
was surrendered to the ' Pelican,' a perfect wreck. Lieuten- 
ant Allen was taken to Ashburton, England, where he was 
Retained eighteen months a prisoner of war ; but he was 
exchanged before the close of the war, and returned in a 
cartel to Norfolk ; but, owing to an extraordinary pa.ssage of 
some ninety days, he did not arrive until after the peace. 
In 1816 he made a voyage to Dublin, as the master of the 
brig ' Henry Clay ;' he was then engaged in the merchant 
service. During the two succeeding years he was attached 
to the frigate ' United States,' or ship ' Independence.' 

" In the spring of 1819, the United States frigate 'Con- 
gress' sailed on a cruise to the Chinese seas. Mr. Allen 
was her first lieutenant ; his conduct during the cruise was 
highly meritorious. This being the first American ship of 
war of her class that had visited the East Indies, the na- 
tives were frightened at her terrific appearance ; and he 
often described the impression it made upon their minds, 
and the deep conviction it left of the strength and prowess 
of the United States. In May, 1821, he returned in the 
' Congress,' and remained attached to her until about the be- 
ginning of the year 1822, when he was transferred to the 
ship ' Columbus,' then lying in Boston. He left the ' Colum- 

bus' some time in June, having obtained the command of 
the United States schooner ' Alligator.' On the 3d of Au- 
gust, 1822, he sailed from New York on a cruise against 
the pirates, and he plucked a wreath of glory, but the shaft 
of death was in it. He cheerfully engaged in this last 
perilous service, which would have appalled any ordinary 
mind. It called him to the West Indies, the charnel-house 
of foreigners, whose seaports in the summer months are the 
hot-beds of pestilence, disease, and death, and whose climate 
had already consigned to the tomb many valuable lives, 
among whom were many of his intimate friends and brave 
companions. This service called him in contact with pirates, 
a gang of merciless bloodhounds, foes to God and man, 
who live by plunder and murder, and who had sworn ven- 
geance toward American officers and citizens. 

" On his arrival at Havana, he was informed that a gang 
of pirates, having in possession some merchant vessels, had 
stationed themselves in the bay of El Juapo, in the neigh- 
borhood of Matanzas ; without coming to anchor, he imme- 
diately proceeded in search of them. He approached the 
place, saw the pirate vessels, three in number, well armed 
and supplied, and manned with a hundred or more of these 
desperadoes, with the bloody flag waving aloft and nailed 
to the mast. In possession of these assassins were five 
merchantmen and several American citizens ; this property 
and these captives the gallant Allen determined to rescue. 
The ' Alligator,', in consequence of the shoalness of the 
water, could not approach them ; he ordered the boats to be 
manned with about thirty of his crew, put himself in the van, 
and led the attack and boarded them. The outlaws resisted, 
but were driven from their flag vessel, of which he took 
possession. They fled to the other vessels, he pursued them 
amidst a shower of musketry ; a musket ball struck him in 
the head ; still he pressed forward, cheering his men, and, 
when about to board them, another pierced his breast ; this 
was mortal ; still he cheered his gallant little crew as they 
lifted him on board of the prize schooner, and laid him on 
the deck he had so dearly won, and he died of his wounds 
in about three hours after. He called his officers about him, 
gave directions respecting the prizes, for the merchant ves- 
sels had been rescued ; conversed freely and cheerfully ; 
hoped that his friends and his country would be satisfied 
that he had fought well. He said he died in peace with 
the world and looked for his reward in the next. Although 
his pain, from the nature of his wounds, was excruciating, 
yet he did not complain, but died like a martyr, without a 
sigh or a groan, and the spirit of a braver man never en- 
tered the unseen world. The body of the martyred Allen 
was conveyed to Matanzas, in Cuba, where it Wiis interred 
on the 11th of November, 1822, with the honors due to his 
distinguished merit. 

" Soon after the reception of this sad intelligence at Hud- 
son, which cast a gloom over the city, the citizens of Hud- 
son assembled at the city hall, and it was a more numerous 
meeting than had ever been witnessed in that city. This 
was on the oth of December, 1822, and on motion of Elisha 
Williams, the honorable Alexander Coffin was called to the 
chair; and on motion of Ambrose L. Jordan, Esq., Dr. 
Samuel White was appointed secretary. The Rev. B. F. 
Stanton opened the meeting with an appropriate and im- 


pressive prayer. The Hon. James Strong then pronounced 
a splendid eulogy on the character of the late gallant Lieu- 
tenant William Howard Allen. 

" The common council of the city of Hudson requested 
of the navy department to have the remains of Lieutenant 
Allen brought from Matanzas to New York in a public 
vessel. This request was promptly acceded to by the sec- 
retary of the navy, and on the 15th of December, 1827, 
the schooner ' Grampus' arrived at New York, having on 
board the remains of the lamented hero. On the reception 
of this intelligence, the common council of the city of Hud- 
son deputed Mr. Reed, former mayor of this city, and Mr. 
Edmonds, the recorder, to receive and bring them to his 
native city. On the Wednesday following, they were re- 
moved from the navy -yard at Brooklyn, under the escort 
of the marine corps of that station, and accompanied by 
Commodore Chauncey and a numerous body of naval offi- 
cers. The colors at the yard and at New York were at 
half-mast ; and the procession landed at New York amid 
the firing of a salute from the ' Grampus,' which had been 
moored in the stream for that purpose. At New York the 
procession was joined by the common council of that city, 
and an immense concourse of citizens and officers, and moved 
across the city to the steamboat which carried them to 
Hudson. There a salute was fired by a detachment of 
artillery and by the marine corps, and the remains were 
delivered by Commodore Chauncey to the Hudson deputa- 
tion. His remains were accompanied to Hudson by the 
following officers of the navy: Lieutenants Francis H. Greg- 
ory, George N. Hollins, William D. Newman, John R. 
Coxe, John Swartwout, and Alexander BI. Mull ; Sailing- 
Master Bloodgood ; and Midshipmen Lynch, Nichols, Suher- 
merhorn, Lawrence, and Pinckney, and arrived early on 
Thursday morning. They wore welcomed by a national 
salute, and were escorted to the dwelling of Captain Alex- 
ander Coffin, the patriotic kinsman of the lamented hero, by 
a detachment of military and a numerous escort of citizens, 
which moved in the following order : 

** Hudson City Guards. 

Columbia Plaids. 
Athens Lafayette Guards, 
And the military under the command of Col. William A. Dean, 
with standards furled and drums muffled. 
The Reverend Clergy. 
The Corpse, 
Borne by Lieuts. Gregory, Hollins, Newman, Coxe, Swart- 
wout, and Mull, and Midshipmen Lynch and Nichols. 
Mourners, including Messrs. Bloodgood, Schermerhorn, Lawrence, and 
Pinckney, of the United States Navy. 
Hudson Military Association. 
Brigadier-General Whiting and his Suite. 
The Mayor and Kecordcr. 
Assistant Aldermen. 
Clerk and Marshal of the City. 
Clerk and Sheriff of the County. 
Committee of Arrangements. 

" Followed by a larger and more respectable procession 
of citizens than had, for many years, been witnessed in that 
city. While the procession moved, the bolls of the city 
were tolled, and minute-guns were fired from Parade hill. 
On its arrival at the grave-yard the body was conveyed in 

front of the line of the military, resting on arms revei'sed, 
and was committed to the earth, near the grave of Lieu- 
tenant Allen's mother. The funeral service was read by 
the Rev. Mr. Stebbins, and a volley fired over the grave by 
the military. The procession then returned to the United 
States Hotel, where it was dismissed."* 

The ashes of the hero rest in the Hudson cemetery, be- 
neath a monument reared by the citizens of Hudson, and 
bearing these inscriptions : 

"To the memory of William Howard Allen, lieutenant in the 
United States navy, who was killed when in the act of boarding a 
piratical vessel on the coast of Cuba., near Matanzas, at the age of 

" William Howard Allen was born in the city of Hudson, July 8, 
1790 ; he was appointed a midshipman in 1808, and a lieutenant in 
1811, and he took a conspicuous part in the engagement between the 
'Argue' and the 'Pelican,' in 1813, and he was killed while in 
command of the schooner 'Alligator.' 

" William Howard Allex. His remains, first buried at Matanzas, 
were removed to this city by the United States government, and in- 
terred, under the direction of the common council of this city, be- 
neath this marble, erected to his memory by the citizens of his native 
place, in 1833. 

" Pride of his country's banded chivalry. 
His fame their hope, his name their battle-cry ; 
He lived .as mothers wished their sons to live, 
And died as fathers wished their sous to die." 

second son of Rev. Pitkin and Fanny S. Cowles, was born 
at "The Grove," Canaan, Conn., Feb. 26, 1817. His 
maternal grandfather was an officer in Brigadier-General 
Glover's brigade of the Massachusetts line in the War of 
the Revolution of 1776. He served with merit and dis- 
tinction during its whole period, being engaged in many of 
the most severe and important battles. 

The fother of Colonel Cowles died while the son was 
still young, and soon after he began his preparation for 
Yale College, which institution he entered in 1836. At 
the end of two years he left college and commenced the 
study of law, being successively in the offices of Hon. 
James Powers, Catskill ; Judge Peckham, of Albany ; and, 
lastly, of his brother, Edward P., at Hudson. He was ad- 
mitted to the bar in Columbia county about the year 1843, 
from which time he was associated with his brother until 
the latter removed to New York, in 1853. He continued 
in successful practice, serving ably some years as district 
attorney, until the outbreak of the civil war. In the year 
1861, Colonel Cowles, at large personal expense, aided in 
forming several companies of a regiment of volunteers, in 
which he was tendered, but declined, the position of lieu- 
tenant-colonel. After the disasters of the Army of the 
Potomac before Richmond, in June, 1862, he actively par- 
ticipated in raising the One Hundred and Twenty-eighth 
Regiment, New York Volunteers, which was enlisted in the 
counties of Columbia and Dutchess, and was commissioned 
its colonel by the governor of the State. The regiment 
left Hudson, Sept. 5, 1862, and proceeded to Baltimore, 
Md. Soon after the battle of Antietam it was ordered 
with other forces to Gettysburg, Pa., to intercept the rebel 

= From Rayt 

' Biographical SUctehes of Distinguished Men.' 



cavalry raid made in that direction by General J. E. B. 
Stuart. In November the regiment composed part of the 
expeditionary forces under command of Major-Gcneral N. 
P. Banks, and was embarked about the 1st of December 
following at Fortress Monroe for New Orleans and the De- 
partment of the Gulf. While at New Orleans, during the 
winter and spring of 1863, the regiment acquired a dis- 
tinguished reputation for high discipline and soldierly con- 
duct. In April, 1863, a brigade, including the One Hun- 
dred and Twenty- eighth, was dispatched by order of General 
T. W. Sherman, under command of Colonel Cowles, on an 
expedition up the Pearl river to attack a rebel position near 
Pontochoula, where a depot of supplies and shipping was 
being formed. This duty was discharged with entire suc- 
cess, and called forth marked commendation in general 

The Confederates at the time held a commanding posi- 
tion on the left bank of the Mississippi river at Port Hud- 
son. Major-General Banks was ordered by the govern- 
ment to invest and reduce the works at that point. Early 
in May he moved against them with an army of about 
twenty-five thousand men. The One Hundred and Twenty- 
eighth formed part of this command. It reached Spring- 
field Landing May 22, 1863, and on that day was marched 
to the front before the enemy's works. On the 26th, active 
demonstrations preparatory to the general assault were 
made. Two batteries of heavy guns were assigned to 
Colonel Cowles wherewith to silence the enemy's fire on 
the extreme left. That operation was finally efiective on 
the following morning in silencing all and dismounting 
some of the guns, it having been suspended in the night in 
order to co-operate with Colonel Clark (Sixth Michigan) 
in destroying some houses near the Confederate lines which 
interfered with the play of the investing guns. About 
the middle of the day, May 27, Major-General Sherman 
ordered an assault on the right, left, and centre of the 
enemy's works. The column on the Union left, with which 
the One Hundred and Twenty-eighth participated, was 
under the immediate command of the commanding general. 
Immediatelj' on moving, the head of the column became 
exposed to the full force of the enemy's fire, — a furious 
discharge of grape, canister, and shell, — while sharpshooters 
from the tops of trees within the rebel works opened with 
deadly effect. General Sherman soon fell from a cannon- 
shot, which carried away a leg. Brigadier-General Dow, 
second in command, was wounded and carried to the rear. 
Colonel Clark, of the Sixth Michigan Volunteers, third in 
rank, was knocked senseless by the concussion of an ex- 
ploding shell. Colonel Cowles, next in rank, then assumed 
command.' By this time the column was badly shattered. 
The whole force reeled. With characteristic disregard of 
exposure in the moment of peril. Colonel Cowles rushed to 
the head of the column, and by voice and example stayed 
the recoiling regiments, rapidly re-formed their ranks, and 
taking his position at their head and quite in advance, by 
force of his own strong will, headed on the column in a 
rush at a " double-quick" to within about six rods of the 
enemy's works, when he fell from the rifle-shot of a sharp- 
shooter, which passed through his body just above the left 
groin. He was laid in a slight depression of the field, 

having resisted every attempt to take him to the rear, and 
refusing to be attended by more than one faithful sergeant, 
— Charles M. Bell, now a practicing lawyer at Hillsdale, 
in this county, — earnestly urging and commanding all 
others to press forward, and constantly inquiring of the fate 
and fortune of the assault. It was soon seen that he had 
received a fatal wound. With composure he gave his 
watch to his attendant, requesting that it be returned to 
his mother, who had presented it to him in his boyhood, 
also his ring and other small articles. Then, as he felt his 
life-blood ebbing last, he desired to be raised up that he 
might view the field and look into the enemy's works, ex- 
claiming, " Oh, that I could have been spared a few min- 
utes longer, and I believe we should have carried those 
works!" His thoughts reverted to his command, and, 
alluding to his own One Hundred and Twenty-eighth, he 
said to his attendant, " I believe, sergeant, I have done my 
whole duty by it as a man and a soldier." Growing fainter 
with loss of blood, he said, " Tell my mother that J died 
with my face to the enemy." With full that 
the hand of death was upon him, he closed his eyes, ejacu- 
lated, " Christ Jesus receive my spirit !" and expired. 

In person Colonel Cowles was about six feet in height, 
of light hair and complexion, with luminous blue eyes, — in 
face and form " a model of manly beauty." His tiistcs 
were intellectual and fastidious. He was sound and prac- 
tical in judgment, fair, honorable, and upright in all his 
dispositions. Where familiar, he would often give rein to 
a certain merry, incisive, satirical humor. At the same 
time there was in him a strongly devout and reverent ele- 
ment, which, however unobtrusive in ordinary conversation, 
found frequent and intense expression in his private diary. 
In acknowledging a sword and belt, the gift of his brother 
Edward, he says, " I am very much pleased that you placed 
our names on the guard, and also the words on the hilt. 
The old Norman or French was, ' Dieu et mon droit.' 
This, which you have inscribed, is the appropriate one, — 
' God and the Right,' — not my right. If I can by my 
conduct give it a value above its intrinsic value, and come 
home some day and hang it in the old hall, it will be to all 
the family, I know, a pleasing memorial." 

Colonel Cowles lived and died unmarried. 

To his mother, then in her eightietli year, he was most 
tender and devoted. Her own youth had been doubtless 
much wrought upon, and her spirit fired, by the Revolu- 
tionary tales oft«n rehearsed at her father's fireside by him- 
self and guests, old officers and comrades in arms« The 
subjoined extract from a letter to her son reveals, while 
softened by time and the events of life, how brightly burned 
the flame in the heart of nearly fourscore : 

••TiiK Ghove, Friday, July 2.'), 1802. 

" My dear, dkab David, — I received your letter yes- 
terday afternoon, bearing not unexpected tidings. It made 
all the blood escape from my face for awhile, but it has at 
last returned, and I am trying to look with reason and com- 
posure on coming events. Although I cannot know what 
even a day may bring forth. I hope and I think I am will- 
ing to leave all my own and your dearest interests in His 
hands who has so long and so kindly cared for us ; and I 



pray that the same hand may shield you in the days of peril 
and danger which seem now more than ever inevitably be- 
fore us. I have had little doubt, since the three hundred 
thousand troops or recruits were to be raised, that you 
would have an appointment by the governor ; and knowing 
that so much of the patriotic blood of my own dear father 
coursed in your veins, I knew you would not hesitate to go. 
Those southern young gentlemen little thought, when they 
introduced you at Charleston as ' Colonel Cowles from the 
north,' how prophetic their words were. . . . 

" May God bless and keep you safely under the shadow 
of His wing ! 

" Most aifectionately, 

" Your Mother." 

The last interview of tho son with his mother occurred at 
the home of a relative in Hudson, whither she had gone 
to bid him adieu. It was September 5, 1862. His last 
spoken words to her were these : " Good-by, my precious 
mother. God bless you through eternity for the most kind, 
most devoted mother you have ever been to me !" Then 
shielding with his cap his tear-dimmed eyes, he passed from 
her mortal view forever. Let us reverently trust that, now 
fifteen years later, she has found him again in the " great 

His remains, in accordance with a wish expressed by him, 
were removed for interment from the scene of his death to 
the city of Hudson. They were accompanied by Sergeant 
Bell, in whose arms he died. Here all classes with a truly 
mournful interest united in expressions of profound sorrow 
for his untimely fate, and in warm and well-deserved enco- 
miums upon his worth. A funeral pageant such as had 
never before been witnessed in this county accompanied 
the body of the dead hero to its final resting-place. He 
was buried with military honors, as became the occasion 
and the man. A graceful granite shaft in the cemetery at 
Hudson marks the spot where he lies. 


for many years one of the most eminent and successful 
lawyers of the State, and later a judge of the Supreme 
Court and in the court of appeals, was born in Canaan, 
Columbia Co., in April, 1773. His professional studies were 
pursued under John Woodworth, subsequently attorney- 
general and Supreme Court judge, and he commenced the 
practijp of the law at Florida, in Montgomery county. At 
the date of his admission to the bar, Hamilton, Burr, Ed- 
ward and Brockholst Livingston led the profession in New 
York city. Abraham Van Vechten and Ambrose Spencer 
were at Albany, and Elisha Williams at Hudson. In the 
first reported case in which he was counsel (1 Johnson's 
Cases, 231) his associate was Aaron Burr, and his antagonist 
Abraham Van Vechten. From that early date down to his 
elevation to the bench, in 1847, his name is found in every 
volume of the reports, the associate or the opponent, and 
always the peer, of the giants of the bar in all parts of the 
State. He was elected to the Assembly in 1809, and to Con- 
gress in 1814, and defeated for Congress in 1832. He was a 
leading and constantly-employed advocate, and a keen ob- 

server of public men and measures, under twenty governors, 
from George Clinton to Myron H. Clark, and under fourteen 
Presidents, from George Washington to Franklin Pierce. 
Among the important trials in which he took part was that 
of Solomon Southwick, for endeavoring to bribe Alexander 
Sheldon, speaker of the Assembly, to give his vote in favor 
of incorporating the Bank of North America. Chief-Justice 
Kent presided. Thomas Addis Emmett, attorney-general, 
led for the prosecution, and Aaron Burr, Daniel Cady, and 
Ebenezer Foote defended. The verdict was for the defend- 
ant. He was particularly distinguished for his real property 
learning, and was long the counsel of Judge Smith, the 
owner of eighty thousand acres in Madison county. He 
was a close and tireless student, severe in morals, courteous 
in address, prompt in the discharge of all his duties, secre- 
tive and taciturn to an extraordinary degree, ever cautious 
and wary, a dangerous opponent at nisi prius, and a finished 
counsel before the courts in banc. Judge Cady's career 
upon the bench of but seven years — he resigned in 1855 — • 
was marked by all the splendid characteristics of his forensic 
life. He was pure as snow, and suspicion never breathed 
his name. He married a daughter of Colonel James Liv- 
ingston, and was the father of Jlrs. Elizabeth Cady 
Stanton. No loftier character has adorned the annals of 
the State, and none has left a more honored name. 

A very excellent life-size oil portrait of him has long 
hung in the court of appeals room at Albany, by the side 
of that of Nicholas Hill. His death occurred at Johns- 
town, in Fulton county, Oct. 31, 1859. 


son of General Samuel Blatchley Webb, a Revolutionary 
officer of considerable distinction, and Catharine (Hoge- 
boom) Webb, was born at Claverack, in this county, Feb. 
8, 1802. At the age of twelve years he went to reside at 
Cooperstown, N. Y., with his brother-in-law and guardian, 
Judge George Morrill. He entered the United States 
army as second lieutenant in the Fourth Artillery in Au- 
gust, 1819. He was advanced to the grade of first lieu- 
tenant in 1823, and in the following year to that of assist- 
ant commissary of subsistence. In the fall of 1827 he 
resigned from the army and adopted the profession of jour- 
nalism, purchasing the Morning Courier, which he published 
in the interest of General Jackson. In 1829 he purchased 
the New York Enquirer, which he consolidated with the 
Courier, under the title of the Courier and Enquirer. With 
this paper he remained connected for upwards of thirty 
years. In 1849 he was appointed minister to Austria, but 
the appointment was not confirmed. In 1851 he was ap- 
pointed by Governor Hunt engineer-in-chief of the State 
of New York, with the rank of brigadier-general. He, 
however, refused to accept this appointment. In 1861 he 
was appointed minister to Turkey, but he declined the ap- 
pointment, though it had been confirmed by the Senate. 
Shortly afterwards he was appointed minister to Brazil, and 
filled that position for eight years. At Paris, in 1865, he 
negotiated a secret treaty with the Emperor Napoleon for 
the removal of the French troops from Mexico. In 1869 
he resigned the mission to Brazil, and has since resided in 
New York. 

C7a^^^ lyucA^cJ. U'c^^^i-o^ 


Samuel Jones Tildon was born at New Lebanon, Columbia 
Co., N. Y., in 1814. One of his paternal ancestors and the 
son and grandson of another were mayors of Tenterden, 
Kent, England, between 1585 and 1623. The son of an- 
other ancestor was one of the London merchants who fitted 
out the " Mayflower." Another ancestor was one of the 
founders of the town of Scituate, Mass., and a leader in the 
famous Plymouth colony. His mother traced her lineage 
to William Jones, lieutenant-governor of New Haven colony, 
and son of a regicide judge of Charles I., by a wife who 
was at once cousin of John Hampden and sister of Oliver 
Cromwell. His father, a farmer and merchant in New 
Lebanon (whither he had come with his parents in 1790), 
was a man of notable judgment and practical sense. His 
influence in the county was a recognized power. New 
York's great statesmen of the Jacksonian era — Martin Van 
Buren, Silas Wright, William L. Marcy, Azariah C. Flagg, 
Edward Livingston, Chancellor Livingston, Albert Gallatin 
— were among his visitors, correspondents, and friends. 
Reared amid such a society, under such traditions, in such a 
school, it is not surprising that from the outset his studies 
were widest and deepest in the graver sciences of government, 
public economy, and law ; nor that his first adventure, in the 
ardor of ripening youth, should have been in a political field. 
In the fall of 1832, General Jackson was re-elected to 
the Presidency, Van Buren was elected to the Vice-Presi- 
dency, and Marcy to the governorship of New York. 
Their success had depended on defeating a coalition of Na- 
tional Republicans and Anti-Masons. With an early " in- 
.stinot for the jugular," young Tilden wrote a paper analyz- 
ing the political situation and showing there could be no 
honest alliance. His father, his most appreciative, yet least 
indulgent critic, approved the paper, took him to pay 
a visit to Mr. Van Buren, then at Lebanon Springs, near 
by, and to read it to him. Its merit was attested by their 
decision to publish it through the State, approved by the 
signatures of several leading Democrats ; it was praised by 
being ascribed to the pen of Mr. Van Buren; but even 
more by the denial that he was its author, made in the 
Albany Argus, "by authority." Out of this incident grew 
a particular friendship between Mr. Van Buren and Mr. 
Tilden, which became of the most confidential character, 
and continued till the death of the ex-President. 

Young Tilden's academic course was begun at Yale 
College, in the sophomore class, which enrolled among its 
members Chief-Justice Waite, William M. Evarts, Profes- 
sors Lyman and Silliman, and Edwards Pierrepont. His 
studies were intermitted for a few months to repair the efiects 
of too intense application ; but were shortly resumed at the 
University of New York ; were continued in the law school 
of that seat of learning, whose pupils were then enjoying the 
prelections of Mr. Van Buren, Attorney-General Benjamin 
F. Butler, and Judge William Kent ; and were prolonged in 
the law-oflice of the gifted, if eccentric, John W. Edmonds. 
The accession of Van Buren to the Presidency, in 1837, 
preceded but a little the memorable financial revulsion of 
that year. He had called an extra session of Congress 
that summer, and in his message recommended the separa- 
tion of the government from the banks, and the establish- 
ment of the independent treasury. Voluminous debates 

followed in the press. The late Samuel Beardsley, of Utica, 
in.spired, if he did not write, a series of papers published in 
the Avffus, then the leading Democratic journal of the State, 
which contested the recommendations of the message, and 
invited resistance to their adoption. Young Tilden, a 
student even then of fiscal systems and political economy, 
sprang to the defense of the President's policy, in a series 
of papers signed " Crino." His most distinguished biog- 
rapher has said of them : " They were marked by all the 
characteristics of his maturity, and advocated the proposed 
separation from the banks and redeeraability of the govern- 
ment currency in specie. Their author was but twenty- 
three years of age, — the age at which William Pitt became 
Chancellor of England. If history has preserved anything 
from the pen or tongue of that illustrious statesman, prior 
to that period of his life, which displays a higher order of 
merit, it has escaped the attention of his biographers." 
' Crino' was long supposed to be Esek Cowen, then one of 
the justices of the Supreme Court. 

In the fall of 1838, Nathaniel P. Talmadge, a senator 
of the United States, from New York, who had separated 
from the Democratic party and joined the Whigs, in oppo- 
sition to the financial policy of the President, went to 
Columbia county to address his new friends. After his 
speech the Whig managers invited reply. The Democrats 
present took up the challenge, and shouted for Tilden as 
their champion. His speech was a masterly refutation of 
the veteran senator's argument, and some of its home-thrusts 
were so effective and thrilling as completely to countervail 
the political purpose of the meeting. 

The great depression in prices and paralysis of business 
which continued into the fall of 1840, although an in- 
evitable result of a long period of bank inflation and un- 
sound government financing, were, of course, imputed to 
the sub-treasury system, just as the panic of 1873, and 
the subsequent distress, have been ascribed to all steps 
taken to remove their chief causes and principal conditions. 
In October, 1840, Mr. Tilden, who had watched the finan- 
cial revolution through all its progress, and knew its source, 
nature, and remedies as thoroughly as any older man of his 
time, made a speech upon the subject in New Lebanon. 
No one can read it at this day without marveling that 
Daniel Webster and Nicholas Biddle, with whose arguments 
Mr. Tilden grappled, could ever have championed a system 
under which the revenues of the federal government were 
made the basis of private commercial discounts. He re- 
viewed the history of the United States Bank, and exposed 
its ill-founded claims to have been " a regulator of the 
currency." In short, the youngster was already a veteran 
in the service and the councils of his party. But while, 
on the one hand, the administration sought his advice and 
co-operation, on the other hand, Conde Raguet, whose 
" Treatise on Currency and Banking" had placed him 
among the most eminent political economists of the period, 
recognized, beyond its political, its scientific value as " the 
clearest exposition of the subject that has yet appeared," 
and a " most masterly production." 

Mr. Tilden opened his law-ofEce in Pine street, New 
York city, in 1844, the year of the election of James K. 
Polk as President, and of Silas Wright as governor of New 


York. To advance that choice he united with John L. 
O'SuUivan in founding the Daily Neics, by far the ablest 
morning journal till then enlisted in the service of the 
Democratic party. Its success was complete, but, as he did 
not propose to enter into journalism as a career, after the elec- 
tion he made a gift of his share in the paper to his colleague. 

In the fall of 1845, Mr. Tilden was elected to the State 
Assembly, and, while a member of that body, was elected 
to the Constitutional Convention of 1846. His impress is 
visible in the legislation of that year, but it was most notable 
upon the new constitutional provisions affecting the finances 
of the State and the management of its canals. 

The defeat of Mr. Wright in the fall of 1846, and the 
coolness which had grown up between the friends of Presi- 
dent Polk and the late President Van Buren, led Mr. Til- 
den to withdraw his attention from politics and concentrate 
it upon his profession. Dependent upon his own exertions, 
hitherto not lucrative, for a livelihood, he discerned thus 
early the importance of a pecuniary independence to the 
best political career. Concentrating all his energies upon 
his profession, it was not long ere he became as well known 
at the bar as he had before been known as a politician ; and 
in twenty years of assiduous, untiring industry he made his 
way steadily to the foremost rank of his profession, and to 
nearly or quite the largest and most lucrative practice in the 
country conducted by any single barrister. During these 
two decades he linked his name imperishably with some of 
the most remarkable forensic struggles of the time. The 
limits of this sketch forbid, however, any adequate reference 
even to those in which his talents and fertility of resource 
were most conspicuous. 

The great O'Conor, his associate counsel in the Flagg 
case, has spoken of Mr. Tilden's opening speech as one of 
the most striking displays of pure intellectual force he ever 
witnessed. Mr. Azariah C. Flagg, like Mr. Tilden, a friend 
of Van Buren and Wright, and renowned in the State and 
city for his fidelity to public trusts, had been elected as comp- 
troller of the city of New York. His title to the office was 
contested by his opponent by legal process. So close had been 
the vote that a change in the return of a single election dis- 
trict would reverse the result. Upon a fraud inserted here 
his opponent proceeded. From the very data of the contest- 
ant, Mr. Tilden, by a mathematical and logical analysis, based 
upon the principle that truth always matches all around, 
reconstructed a lost tally-sheet, exposed the attempted fraud, 
demonstrated Flagg's election, and won his case. 

As counsel for the heirs of Dr. Burdell (an American 
Tichborne case), Mr. Tilden tore to tatters the amazing 
tissue of falsehood woven by the claimant, Mrs. Cunning- 
ham, the pretended wife and probable murderer of Burdell, 
by an examination of one hundred and fifty-two willing 
witnesses called by the claimant. Believing still that the 
truth must match all around, and that falsehood cannot be 
made to harmonize with even a limited number of facts, he 
conducted this defense by a species of moral triangulation. 
His metaphysical power, his keen acumen, his penetration 
of character, and his creative logic were never more won- 
derfully displayed. He not only won the case, but the 
conviction at once seized the public mind that had he con- 
•ducted the previous prosecution of Mrs. Cunningham for mur- 
der, it must have resulted in the woman's iust conviction. 

Mr. Tilden's defense of the Pennsylvania Coal Company 
probably established, as much as any single case, his high 
repute among his professional brethren. It was a striking 
exhibition of the power of his analytical method. The 
Delaware and Hudson Coal Company had sued for extra 
toll, extending over a long period, on a contract, in which 
the Pennsylvania Coal Company agreed to pay it as an in- 
demnity for the cost of enlarging their canal. The ques- 
tion was, had the enlarged canal given transportation at less 
expense than the old canal. A chaos of facts beclouded 
and complicated the issue. Mr. Tilden reduced this chaos 
to order by costly, laborious analysis involving the guided 
research of a regiment of computers, amounting to the ten 
years' toil of one man. He took the time of a single trip 
of a boat as an integer, and from the plaintiifs' books evolved 
a luminous series of proofs that defeated their claim and 
won his cause. The amount claimed was twenty cents a 
ton on six hundred thousand tons a year for ten years, be- 
sides a large royalty for an indefinite future. 

In the case of the Cumberland Coal Company against its 
directors, heard in Maryland in 1858, Blr. Tilden applied 
for the first time to the directors of corporations the familiar 
doctrine that a trustee cannot be a purchaser of property 
confided to him for sale, and he successfully illustrated and 
settled the equitable principle on which such sales to directors 
are set aside, and also the conditions to give them validity. 

Mr. Tilden's success was no less remarkable in a field 
which he made especially his own, — in rescuing corporations 
from unprofitable and embarrassing litigation, in reorgan- 
izing their administration, re-establishing their credit, and 
rendering their resources available. Blore than half the 
great railway enterprises north of the Ohio and between the 
Hudson and Missouri rivers have, at some time, been his 
clients. It was here, on this pre-eminently useful, if less 
conspicuous stage, that his legal attainments, his unsur- 
passed skill as a financier, his unlimited capacity for con- 
centrated, energetic labor, his constantly increasing weight of 
character and personal influence, enabled him, especially be- 
tween the years 1855 and 1 861 , to contribute more powerfully 
than any man in the United States to their great prosperity. 

He had now earned in the conduct of these large inter- 
ests, and in the decisive victories he had won, a considerable 
fortune, a ripe experience, and a distinguished fame. The 
time was near when all these were consecrated, with as 
great and devoted energy, solely to the public service. For 
no one in the United States now needs to be told that to 
Mr. Tilden more than to any other single man is due the 
overthrow of Tweed and his confederates in both political 
parties, who for years had used the power of the whole 
State to compel the city of New York to pay them the free- 
booters' tribute, and whose plunderings caused the major 
part of the enhancement of its debt from 819,000,000 in 
1857 to $116,000,000 in 1876. The ring had its origin 
in the legislation of 1857, constituting a board of super- 
visors, — six Republicans and six Democrats, — to change a 
majority of which needed the control of the primary meet- 
ings of both the great national and State parties for four 
years in succession, — a series of coincidences rare in a gen- 
eration. This ring of supervisors soon grew to be a ring 
between the Republicans, who, for thirteen years prior to 
1869 and 1870, controlled the legislative power of the 


State, the half-and-half supervisors and a few Democratic 
oflBcials in the city, and embraced just enough influential 
men in the organizations of each party to control both. 
Year by year its power and its audacity increased. Its 
seat of operations was transferred to Albany. The lucra- 
tive city offices ; subordinate appointments, which each head 
of department could create at pleasure, with salaries at dis- 
cretion, distributed among legislators; contracts; money 
contributed by city officials, assessed on their subordinates, 
raised by jobs under the departments, or filched from the 
city treasury, were the corrupting agencies which shaped 
and controlled all legislation. 

Thus for four millions of people were all institutions of 
government, all taxation, all appropriations of money, mas- 
tered and made. The Ring power was consolidated, and 
touched its farthest limit in the Tweed charter of 1870. En- 
acted by a Republican Legislature, approved by a Democratic 
governor, this charter was simply a grant of all offices, all 
local government, all power, to members of the Ring for long 
periods, without accountability for their acts. New York 
was delivered over, bound hand and foot, to Tweed and his 
confederates for plunder. Mr. Tilden, who had accepted 
the chairmanship of the Democratic committee and the 
titular leadership of his party in the State at the death of 
Dean Richmond, now held it against the ambition and as- 
saults of the Ring. Without patronage or office to confer 
in city or State, he planted himself on the traditions of the 
elders, on the moral sense and forces of Democracy, and 
upon the invincibility of truth and right. He denounced 
the Tweed charter and assailed at every point the Ring 
domination. The fight was long and desperate ; many ac- 
cused him of making shipwreck of his party, but he would 
concede nothing, compromise nothing. Perceiving the vital 
centre of power, the city representation in the legislative 
bodies of the State, he insisted with his party and before 
the people, that the clutch of Ring rule should release that. 
Fortune favored the brave. A clerk in the comptroller's 
office copied and published the •' secret accounts." Sir. 
Tilden went into the bank where all the checks of the Ring 
had passed, analyzed the gigantic mass of these and other 
vestiges of their frauds, traced out the actual division of 
their plunder, and thus accumulated and framed the decisive 
and legal proof of their guilt. Fortune again favored the 
brave. He was able to put an honest person into the comp- 
troller's office, as deputy, with the keys of the city treasury. 
From that hour the Ring was doomed. 

A side-contest, essential to success in the overthrow of 
the Ring, and arduous as any part of that devoted toil, was 
his effijrt for the impeachment and overthrow of the corrupt 
judiciary of New York. This too was triumphantly 
achieved, with the result, besides the imprisonment or flight 
of the members of the Ring, and the recovery of some of 
their spoil, also the purification of the administration of 
justice in the great metropolis. 

These sixteen months of sacrifice of every private interest 
or occupation of his own, and of strenuous absorbed devo- 
tion to the public welfare, led him to make a brief trip to 
Europe in the summer of 1873 for rest and recreation. 

But the lawyer, the statesman, the patriot, was not suf- 
fered to return to the courts and the council-chamber. In 
the fi^ll of 1874 he was summoned to lead the party of 

Reform in its for power in the State. Unwilling to 
leave it possible for the enemies of reform to .say that he 
could not safely submit his work as a reformer to the perils 
of party strife and the judgment of the people, he accepted 
the Democratic nomination, and was elected governor of 
New York by overwhelming majorities, many Republicans 
contributing their votes to swell this moral triumph. Two 
years before. General Dix liad been elected by a plurality 
of 53,000. Governor Tilden's plurality over Dix, his com- 
petitor, was 53,000. 

Not long was Mr. Tilden seated in the governor's chair 
ere the people discovered that besides being occupied it was 
filled. His first message, in January, proclaimed his policy 
of thorough-going administrative reform, revision of laws, 
so as to provide criminal punishment and civil remedies 
for the frauds of public officers and their accomplices, and 
reduction of taxation. Mr. Tilden also took advantage of 
his high position to restore, in this message, to the Demo- 
cratic party the authority of its most honorable traditions 
in finance, and to the country the only policy which ever had 
insured or can insure its substantial, enduring prosperity. 
But this was only the beginning. In less than ninety days 
he had investigated, and in a message to the Legislature 
exposed, the fraudulent processes of the Canal Ring, by 
which for years the State had been plundered, its ageuts 
debauched, its politics demoralized, and its credit imperilled. 
The political courage of this declaration of war to the death 
against a caste claiming the balance of power in both the 
great political parties can hardly be overstated. In a similar 
struggle with the baser elements, forty years before, Silas 
Wright had been struck down as he was rising to the zenith 
of his fiime, and exiled from public life. But ]Mr. Tilden 
preferred to fill like him rather than not attempt the reform 
so necessary. Again he put his trust in the virtue of the 
people, and again it was not betrayed. He appointed a 
commission, with John Bigelow at its head, under autho- 
rity extorted from a Legislature containing many notorious 
canal-jobbei-s and organized in their interest. The commission 
brought out to the light of day the whole system of fraud- 
ulent expenditure on the canals, which he had denounced 
at the bar of public opinion. Nor was even this all. By 
arresting completely such expenditures, by the recommen- 
dation and adoption of various other financial measures, 
and by the discreet but vigorous exercise of the veto power. 
Governor Tilden efiected a reduction of the State taxation 
by one-half its sum, before laying down his trust. 

By this time throughout the whole Union it was perceived 
that precisely such as these were the labors and achieve- 
ments needed in a reformed administration of the federal 
government at Washington. War had left its usual lega- 
cies, — departments honeycombed with corruption, a vast 
debt and habits of unbounded extravagance. Between 
1850 and 1870 town, city, county, and State expenditures 
had increased nearly seven-fuld, and federal expenditures 
ten-fold, whilst the population had not even doubled. Taxes 
were crushing the nation, and Tweeds were swarming at 
its capital. It was natural that the eyes of discerning 
men in all the States, and the hearts of the masses of the 
people, should be turned towards Governor Tilden. The 
belief that the reformer of New York was the reformer for 
Washington inspired a decisive choice among the Democrats 


from Maine to Texas. It came up from the people like 
a tidal-wave, and lifting the political leaders of many a 
State who had other preferences, bore them onward to an 
inevitable decision. 

On the first balloting of the Democratic National Con- 
vention, which assembled at St. Louis, June 27, 1876, 
Mr. Tilden's name led all the rest. He had received 417 out 
of 739 ballots cast. On the second ballot he received 535 
out of 744, more than the two-thirds required, and was at 
once nominated unanimously. His letter accepting the 
nomination was looked for with keen interest, and read 
more widely than any other such document. It betrays in 
every line its author's mastery of the art and business of 
statesmanship. The profoundest problems of finance, the 
causes of commercial and industrial depression, the con- 
ditions of a revival of national prosperity, are there dis- 
cussed with the precision of science and the ease of power. 

The contest which followed was one of the most des- 
perate and hard-fought in all the annals of popular elections. 
Much more than the preference of a majority of the people 
was needful to Democratic success. Sixteen years of con- 
tinuous rule had given the Republican party every advan- 
tage. It wielded the vast influence of $164,000,000 an- 
nual expenditures. Its followers were mustered and drilled 
by 100,000 office-holders. 

But Governor Tilden's character, career, and letter of 
acceptance had completely determined and defined the 
battle-field and the aggressive quality of the Democratic 
campaign. It was an appeal to the conscience and the 
power of the American people from the standpoint of 
Democratic principles and traditions. War issues were 
displaced. Reform was the watchword. 

The people rebuked his calumniators, and rewarded with 
the laurels of victory his faith in their purpose to restore 
the government to the principles and the purity of the 
founders of the Republic. They gave him, in a vote 
vastly the largest ever polled, great popular majorities, — in 
New York State, eighty thousand more suffrages than made 
Grant's fifty-four thousand majority in 1872, and in the 
Union thirteen hundred thousand more than Grant had re- 
ceived in his first election, and seven hundred thousand 
more than he had received in his second election. 

The electors chosen in the Presidential election of 1876 
numbered three hundred and sixty-nine. Of these the 
Tilden electors indisputably chosen numbered one hundred 
and eighty-four. The Tilden electors in Florida (four), 
and in Louisiana (eight), also received, indisputably, a ma- 
jority of the votes cast and returned. It was claimed, too, 
that Tilden electors (seven) had the majority in South 
Carolina. The Hayes electors thus numbered, at most, 
173 ; the Tilden electors numbered at least 196. By what 
means the casting of these twelve (if not nineteen) electoral 
votes was transferred from the Tilden electors to the Hayes 
electors history will yet write in burning letters upon the 
pages of its abiding record. 

Every Republican member of the Electoral Commission 
voted (eight to seven) to give effectual validity to the re- 
versal, by the State Returning Boards, of the people's choice 
of Tilden electors, — voted to receive the vote of every dis- 
qualified elector. All were necessary to enable them to seat 
Hayes by a majority of one. 

We cannot more fitly close this too brief sketch of an 
unexampled private and public career than by quoting 
Governor Tilden's own words, on the 12th of June, 1877, 
upon this, " the most portentous event in our political 
history" : 

" Everybody knows that after the recent election the men 
who were elected by the people President and Vice-Presi- 
dent of the United States were ' counted out,' and men 
who were not elected were 'counted in' and seated. I 
disclaim any thought of the personal wrong involved in this 
transaction. Not by any act or word of mine shall that be 
dwarfed or degraded into a personal grievance, which is, in 
truth, the greatest wrong that has stained our national an- 
nals. To every man of the four and a quarter millions who 
were defrauded of the fruits of their elective franchise it is 
as great a wrong as it is to me. And no less to every man 
of the minority will the ultimate consequences extend. 
Evils in government grow by success and by impunity. 
They do not arrest their own progress. They can never be 
limited except by external forces. If the men in possession 
of the government can in one instance maintain themselves 
in power against an adverse decision at the elections, such 
an example will be imitated. Temptation exists always. 
Devices to give the color of law, and false pretenses on which 
to found fraudulent decisions, will not be wanting. The 
wrong will grow into a practice if condoned — if once con- 
doned. In the world's history changes in the succession of 
governments have usually been the result of fraud or force. 
It has been our fiuth and our pride that we had established 
a mode of peaceful change, to be worked out by the agency 
of the ballot-box. 

" The question now is whether our elective system, in 
its substance as well as its form, is to be maintained. This 
is the question of questions. Until it is finally settled 
there can be no politics founded on inferior questions of 
administrative policy. It involves the fundamental right 
of the people. It involves the elective principle. It in- 
volves the whole system of popular government. The 
people must signally condemn the great wrong which has 
been done to them. They must strip the example of every- 
thing that can attract imitators. They must refuse a pros- 
perous immunity to crime. This is not all. The people 
will not be able to trust the authors or beneficiaries of the 
wrong to devise remedies. But when those who condemn 
the wrong shall have the power they must devise the meas- 
ure which shall render a repetition of the wrong forever 
impossible. If my voice could reach throughout our 
country and be heard in its remotest hamlet, I would say : 
' Be of good cheer. The republic will live. 'The institu- 
tions of our fathers are not to expire in shame. The sov- 
ereignty of the people shall be rescued from this peril and 
re-established.' Successful wrong never appears so tri- 
umphant as on the very eve of its fall. Seven years ago a 
corrupt dynasty culminated in its power over the one mil- 
lion of people who live in the city of New York. It had 
conquered or bribed, or flattered and won, almost every- 
body into acquiescence. It appeared to be invincible. A 
year or two later its members were in the penitentiaries or 
in exile. History abounds in similar examples. We must 
believe in the right and in the future. A great and noble 
nation will not sever its political from its moral life." 




Lieutenant-Commander John Van Ness Philip was the 
son of the late Colonel Henry G. Philip and Catharine D. 
Hoffman, and was born in the town of Claverack, Columbia 
Co., N. Y., on March 14, 1823. He received in early life 
a classical education, attending the academies at Claverack 
and Lenox, Mass., and graduating with high honors at the 
Van Rensselaer Institute, in Troy, then under the care of 
Professor Eaton. 

With his education thus attained, and slaiidinp.' on the 
threshold of young manhood, he looked around with 
youthful eagerness for some useful and honorable occupa- 
tion in which to spend the manly energies which he felt 
growing within him. Nor did he look in- vain. On a visit 
to his uncle, the late General John P. Van Ness, he was 
offered a midshipman's warrant in the United States navy. 
The offer being congenial 
to his own spirit of cour- 
age, enterprise, and pa- 
triotism, he accepted it 
with alacrity, and thus 
devoted his life specifi- 
cally to the .service of his 
country. As an officer 
in the navy he served 
faithfully and with honor 
in various parts of the 
world, both in peace and 
in war. 

During the Jlexican 
war he was stationed on 
the coast of California, 
and for gallant conduct 
in the action of San Ga- 
briel was specially men- 
tioned, not only in the 
report of Commodore 
Stockton, but also in that 
of General Kearney, com- 
mander of the forces on 

After his return from 
the Pacific coast, Mr. JOI'n V.\n 

Philip sailed as lieuten- 
ant on board the steam frigate " Mississippi," which was sent 
to Turkey by our government for the purpose of convey- 
ing to the United States the exiled patriot, Louis Kossuth. 
While Kossuth was still guarded by Turkish soldiers, and 
was in imminent peril of being given up to the Austrian 
authorities. Lieutenant Philip, in connection with some 
English officers, devised a plan for his rescue ; which, 
however, was delayed in its execution, and finally abandoned 
when the Turkish government voluntarily allowed Kossuth 
and his companions to place themselves under the protection 
of the American flag. 

On his return from the cruise in the " Mississippi," Lieu- 
tenant Philip was withdrawn from sea service and appointed 
to the honorable post of assistant professor of mathematics 
in the naval school at Annapolis. While there he was 
united in marriage with the daughter of the late Chancellor 

Johnson, of Maryland. He performed the duties of his 
professorship for five years ; but, meanwhile, his thoughts 
and desires were reverting to the beautiful scenes of his 
childhood. The country, too, was at peace with itself and 
with all other nations, and did not imperatively demand his 
continuance in the service. He therefore resigned his com- 
mission in the navy, returned to his native town, and made 
it his home thenceforward till the time of his 

Here old friendships were revived and new ones formed. 
With characteristic earnestness, yet with becoming modesty, 
he applied himself to every good work wiiich his hands 
found to do. The circle of his popularity and influence 
widened and continued to extend until there was no one in 
the community more widely or highly esteemed than John 
Van Ness Philip. This esteem and affection he highly 
prizcd,butmoreprecious to him were the delights of his home. 
For such a man to fear 
himself away from such a 
home was a sacrifice in- 
deed ; but at the call of 
duty the sacrifice was 
made when his country 
again needed his services. 
Keenly alive to her honor, 
an ardent lover of her fiee 
and noble institutions, 
chivalric in his admira- 
tion and love for the flag 
of his country, his heart 
leaped with indignation 
when the news first broke 
upon the land of the un- 
justifiable revolt of the 
southern States; and, al- 
though by marriage con- 
nected with the best 
blood of the south, he 
was among the very first 
to fly to the standard of 
his country when it was 
insulted by the wanton 
attack upon Fort Sum- 
ter. His offer was accep- 
ted, and during the latter 
part of May, ISGl, he left the navy-yard at Brooklyn as the 
lieutenant and executive officer of the steamship " R. R. 
Cuyler," connected with the blockading squadron in the 
Gulf of Mexico. How honorably and faithfully he dis- 
charged the duties of that position the records of the navy 
department and the history of the times fully attest. He 
returned in the month of June, 1SG2, making a brief visit 
at home, and was again off to join his squadron. The 
steamer had been ordered to touch at Key West for coal, 
and, although the officers were aware that the terrible 
scourge of that climate, yellow fever, was prevailing at that 
port, the order was obeyed. The ship became infected with 
the deadly disease ; the captain soon died ; the surgeon and 
Lieutenant Philip were taken sick ; the latter, on his sick 
bed, took command of the steamer, and directed her return 
to New York. They rejiehed Sandy Hook and were placed 



in lower quarantine, where Lieutenant Philip died on the 
hospital sliip on the night of Sept. 2, 1862, but not until 
he had looked once more upon the faces of his wife and 
brother, who had hastened to meet him. 

As an oflScer, Lieutenant Philip was brave, vigilant, and 
self sacrificing ; as a citizen, patriotic and public-spirited ; 
as a man, he was both just and generous ; as a friend, warm- 
hearted and faithful. At his death the military committee 
of Columbia county, through their chairman, the late Judge 
Henry Hogeboom, presented a series of suitable resolutions 
of high appreciation of his character, respect for his public 
•services, and sincere grief at his loss. The Agricultural 
and Horticultural Association, of which he had been unani- 
mously elected the first president, and to which he had de- 
voted his untiring energy and zeal as an executive oflScer, 
also passed resolutions of respect and condolence. 

We cannot better this brief sketch than by quoting 
a few of the heart-felt words of his friend, the late Stephen 
Burrell, in an obituary notice contributed to the New York 
Journal of Commerce : 

" The respect of the aged, the honor of the good and 
wise, the love of the purest and best, shall hallow his grave. 
It shall be wet with the tears of the poor and lowly, and 
his memory in the hearts of us all shall blossom all the 
year and keep green forever." 


John Worth Edmonds, son of General Samuel Edmonds, 
was born March 13, 1799, in the city of Hudson. His early 
education was obtained at private schools and at the academy 
at Hudson, where he prepared for college. In October, 1814, 
he entered the sophomore class of Williams College, Ma.s- 
sachusetts, but in 1815 he solicited his dismissal from that 
institution, and entered Union College, at Schenectady, 
where he graduated in July, 1816. On leaving college 
he began the study of the law at Cooperstown with George 
Monell, Esq., afterwards chief-justice of Michigan. After 
remaining at that place about six months he returned to 
Hudson, where he studied two years in the office of Monell 
& Van Burcn. 

In the fall of 1819 he entered the office of Martin Van 
Burcn, in Albany. He continued with the ex-President, 
re.-iiJiiig in his family, until May, 1820, when he returned 
to Hudson and entered upon the practice of the law. He 
continued at Hud,son until his removal to New York, iu 
November, 1837. 

At the age of nineteen he wa.s appointed a lieutenant in 
the militia, which commission he held for about fifteen 
years, when he obtained the command of his regiment. 
This office he resigned in 1828, on being appointed, by De 
AVitt Clinton, recorder of Hudson. 

At an early age lie took an active part in politics as a 
Democrat, and the first vote he ever gave was for Daniel 
D. Tompkins, who ran for governor against De AVitt 

In 1830 ho was elected by the Democrats of Columbia 

Compilca from a notice of Judge EJinoudii in the " Auitrieun 
igriipliieal .Sketeh-l?uok." 

to the Assembly, in which body he soon became a leading 
and influential member. 

In the fall of 1831 he was elected to the State Senate, 
receiving in his district the large majority of over seven 
thousand five hundred votes. 

In the Senate he served four years, during the whole of 
which time, in addition to other duties, he was a member 
of the judiciary committee, and for the last three years was 
chairman of the bank committee. 

It was also during his senatorial term that the .subject 
of nullification, arising out of the forcible resistance of 
South Carolina to the tariff laws, occupied the public mind. 
A joint committee of the two houses was raised on the 
matter, and Mr. Edmonds was a member on the part of the 
Senate. An elaborate report, drawn up by Mr. A^^n Burcn, 
then Vice-President of the United States, was made by 
Nathaniel P. Tallmadge, the chairman of the committee. 
About that time Mr. Tallmadge was elected to the United 
States Senate, and opposition to his report on nullification 
unexpectedly arising, the defense of it fell upon Mr. Ed- 
monds. The debate lasted more than a week, during which 
time the judge stood alone against six of the most promi- 
nent senators on the other side. The result was the 
adoption of the report by an overwhelming majority. 

In the summer of 1836 he was appointed by General 
Jackson to carry into effect the treaty with the Ottawa 
and Chlppeiva tribes of Indians. This business took him 
during the summer to Michilimackinac, where for nearly 
two months he was encamped with over six hundred 
natives. In the ensuing year he received appointments in 
relation to other tribes ; but in the fall of 1837 he re- 
linquished them, and removed from Hudson to New York, 
where he resumed the practice of law, and almost imme- 
diately found himself in an extensive and profitable business. 

In April, 1843, without any solicitation on his part, he 
was appointed by Governor Bouck an inspector of the State 
prison at Sing Sing. It was with much hesitation that he 
accepted this unthankful task. The labor was indeed her- 
culean, as scarcely any discipline was maintained in the 
prison, and the earnings lell short of the expenses by over 
$40,000. But within eighteen months a great change was 
effected ; strict discipline was introduced and maintained 
among the prisoners, and the annual deficiency in the reve- 
nue was reduced to less than a tenth part of the former 

This task, however, was easy in comparison with a reform 
of a different character which he sought to introduce. He 
found that for more than fifteen years the system of gov- 
ernment which had prevailed in our State prisons was one 
purely of force, and where no sentiment was sought to be 
awakened in the breast of the prisoner but that of fear, 
and no duty exacted from him but that of implicit obedi- 
ence. No instrument of punishment was used but the 
whip, which had the effect of arousing only the worst 
passions of both convicts and officers, — a practice of abomi- 
nable cruelty, long engrafted upon our penitentiary sy.stcm, 
revolting to humanity, and destructive to all hope of re- 
forming the prisoner. So thoroughly had it become engrafted 
that the most experienced officers insisted that there was 
no other mode by which order could be kept. 



Passion, prejudice, and selfishness all combined to place 
obstacles in the way of this proposed reform, and its pro- 
gress was very slow. Yet it steadily advanced, and when, 
in 1845, Mr. Edmonds resigned the ofiice of inspector, his 
system was in the full tide of success, and has been con- 
tinued by his successors to the present time. 

On the ISth of February, 1845, Mr. Edmonds received 
the appointment of circuit judge of the first circuit, in the 
place of Judge Kent, who had resigned. That office he 
held until June, 1847, when he was elected a judge of the 
Supreme Court. 

Upon the organization of the judiciary, under the new 
State constitution, Judge Edmonds was nominated for 
justice of the Supreme Court by the bar of New York and 
by the Tammany party, and was elected by a majority ex- 
ceeding any of his colleagues. This result was gratifying, 
not only to him, but to the public, inasmuch as during his 
judgeship he had made several decisions that warred upon 
popular prejudice, and immediately before his election he 
had, with others of the Democratic party, protested against 
the admission of Texas into the Union, as eminently calcu- 
lated to lead to a war with Mexico, and to perpetuate the 
extension of slavery. His course was justified by his 
triumphant election by the public, who honored him for his 
independence of character. In the discharge of his judicial 
duties Judge Edmonds was always fearless and independ- 
ent, in which particular he was often compared to the 
celebrated Sir Matthew Hale. He was especially gifted in 
the art of communicating to others what he himself knew 
or felt; and, altogether, he was a man of rare though 
somewhat eccentric talents. 


was born at Catskill, N. Y., in the year 182 


grandson to the late Rev. David Porter, of that place. He 
was nephew also on his maternal side to Judge Henry 
Hogeboom, of the Supreme Court of New York, lately de- 
ceased. Both he and his brothers were distinguished in 
their respective callings in life, his brother John A. Porter, 
now deceased, having become a leading professor at Yale 
College, his brother Henry C. Porter, also now deceased, 
an influential merchant at SheflSeld, 111., and his brother 
Charles H. Porter a prominent physician at Albany, N. Y. 
In his youth he lost both parents, and was thus thrown 
early in life upon his own personal efforts and resources. 
He began the study of law in the office of Judge Hoge- 
boom, at Hudson, Columbia Co., N. Y., and in 1846 was 
admitted to the bar. At the age of twenty-seven he was 
advanced to the position of district attorney of Columbia 
county, and won the respect of all for inflexible integrity 
and marked ability in office. In 185G he established him- 
self in Chicago, which was thenceforward his home, where, 
after some ten years' practice of law in that city, he was 
elevated to the bench of the Superior Court of Cook Co., 
111., and continued judge of that court the remainder of his 
life, being at the time of his death its chief-justice. In 
1859 he married the youngest daughter of Justus Boies, 
Esq., of Northampton, Mass., by whom he had one son, 
who survives them both, Mrs. Porter having died in 1871. 
Judge Porter's death, which occurred Oct. 27, 1873, was 

very sudden. In the prime of life, without previous sick- 
ness, he was stricken down by an apoplectic attack, and 
died in liis bed-chamber while a court-room thronged with 
suitors and counsel awaited his coming. 

A friend who had known him from boyhood intimately, 
himself a distinguished member of the New York bar, and 
who followed him a little more than a year thereafter, wrote 
the following : 

" lie has fallen instantly, and unwarned, in fullness of 
his vigor and his ripe manhood, with harness on, his record 
well made up, unbowed by sickness or disease, unbroken in 
mind or body, honored by his profession, lamented by his 
peers, loved by his friends, respected by all." 


the eldest son of the Rev. Pitkin and Fanny Smith Cowles, 
graduated at Yale College in 1836, and .shortly after began 
the study of law in the oflBce of the late Hon. Ambrose L. 
Jordan, at Hudson, N. Y. 

In January, 1840, he was admitted to the bar, and 
began to practice, his brother, David S. Cowles, joining 
him as law partner soon afler. For the thirteen succeed- 
ing years he continued at this place, devoting himself 
zealously to the study and practice of his profession, taking 
also an active part in the political affiurs of the county and 
State. He soon became known as one of the strong men 
of Columbia county, at a bar which is and has been justly 
famous, and here laid the foundation of that which led to 
honor and preferment. 

In 1852 he married Sarah, daughter of Justus Boies, of 
Northampton, Mass. (by whom he had four children, all of 
whom survive him), and the following year removed to the 
city of New York. Early in 1855 he was appointed, by the 
governor, justice of the Supreme Court of this State, to fill 
a vacancy caused by the death of Judge Edwards, and at 
the close of his term was again appointed to fill the vacancy 
cau.sed by the death of Judge Slorris. Over the second 
appointment a contest arose, the point being made that an 
election should have been held to fill the office. This con- 
test Judge Cowles met in such a high-minded, dignified 
manner as to obtain for him the esteem and admiration of 
the whole community, and the warm friendship of his an- 

On his retirement from the bench he was occupied for 
several years almost exclusively in hearing and deciding 
causes referred to him by the courts, and during the whole 
latter part of his life did a large counsel business. During 
the course of his practice, Hon. John M. Barbour, after- 
wards chief-justice of the New York Superior Court, was at 
one time associated with him. 

He was an earnest and ardent patriot, and throughout 
the War of the Rebellion made his influence felt in favor of 
the northern cause. In December, 1864, he delivered a 
memorable speech before the Chamber of Commerce of New 
York city, on the occasion of the testimonial to Admiral 
Farragut, and his predictions, which then seemed remark- 
able, in regard to what might be the event of the conduct 
of Great Britain towards the United States, were verified 
not ten years after at Geneva. In speaking upon that sub- 
ject he used these words : " Sir, it is perhaps not for us now 


to seek to penetrate the veil which conceals the future from 
our view. But it may be permitted us to believe that some 
time hereafter, when this Rebellion shall have been sup- 
pressed, as in time it will bo, and when its suppression shall 
have been followed by the lestoration of the Union in all its 
integrity, as under the blessing of God it is our unalterable 
purpose it shall be, our cousins upon the opposite side of 
the Atlantic may then be invited by our government to a 
friendly conference over the devastations of our commerce 
caused by these illustrations of their duties as a neutral 
power during our grapple with a gigantic Rebellion." 

His patriotic feelings, and determination that the Rebel- 
lion should be put down at whatever cost, had been inten- 
sified by the loss of his dearly-loved and gallant brother. 

of the pleasure the two experienced at meeting again, of 
hopes and plans for the future, of the sadness of parting, 
and of the return home. Then a space for many days, with 
finally an attempt to write again, followed by a blank which 
was never attempted to be filled, and which is more eloquent 
than words. 

Judge Cowles continued to practice in New York city 
until his death, which occurred in his 59th year, Dec. 2, 
1874, at Chicago, on his return from a trip to California. 
At the meeting of the next general term of the Supreme 
Court in the first district, a warm tribute was paid to his 
memory by the bench and bar ; the court adjourned, and 
ordered a record to be made upon its minutes in com- 
memoration of him. 



Colonel David Smith Cowles, who was killed while in com- 
mand of and leading an attacking force upon the enemy's 
works at Port Hudson, La. In April, 1863, Judge Cowles 
had visited New Orleans, and while there the two brothers 
had passed the greater part of the time together, sharing 
the same tent, and riding out frequently to reviews and 
camp inspection. On the 12th he took steamer for New 
Y"ork, and was accompanied to the wharf by his brother. 
They exchanged signals as the steamer passed slowly down 
the river in the twilight, the white kepi which Colonel 
Cowles wore being distinguishable in the darkness for some 
time. It was their last interview. Six weeks later Colonel 
Cowles died on the field of battle. A pocket-diary contains 
an account of this trip to New Orleans mid hack. It speaks 

At the bar Judge Cowles was an advocate in the highest 
sense of that word, striving only to evolve the truth from 
the controversy in which he was engaged, remarkable also 
for a vigorous and comprehensive grasp and appreciation of 
the equity of the case. In his practice he was inflexibly 
honest. His decisions while on the bench were but the 
offspring of these principles, his sole desire being that right 
should triumph, and to that end disregarding artificial and 
technical obstacles. 

In public life he was pure, in private life gentle and kind, 
— a Christian gentleman. Of him it may be truly said 
that he left his impress upon the laws and manners of his 
time, and that for good. 

Towards the close of his life, referring to its events by 


request of an old Yale classmate, he penned the following 
lines, which fitly express the devout and cheerful sentiments 
by which he was ever moved : " Profoundly grateful for 
such an unusual blending of blessings, I may be permitted 
to truly say, my days have had their brightness, and life its 



was born at Palenville, Greene Co., N. Y., July 25, 1812. 
His ancestors were from Holland. He was educated at 
Kindcrhook Academy and at Amherst College, and was also 
at Yale and Harvard. He studied law at Hudson, in the 
office of Ambrose L.Jordan, whose good opinion he soon won, 
and with whom he maintained a warm friendship through 
life. He was admitted to practice in 1838, and immediately 
formed a law-partnership with Allen Jordan, Esq., doing 
with him an extensive and successful practice in the city 
of Hudson for several years. Soon after commencing 
practice he was appointed a master in chancery. In 1842 
he was the candidate of the Whig party in the district 
composed of Columbia and Greene, for Congress ; and al- 
though defeated received a vote much larger than that of 
the party. In 1848 failing health compelled him, much to 
his own regret and that of his friends, to abandon the 
practice of the law. He removed to Ancram, and there 
passed several years in retii-ement upon his farm. In 1853 
he was the Republican candidate for county judge of Co- 
lumbia county, but was defeated. In 1861, having returned 
to Hudson to reside, he was appointed postmaster of the 
city, which position he held until 1869, when he was ap- 
pointed chief-justice of the Supreme Court of the Territory 
of New Mexico; and this position he filled up to the time 
of his death, which occurred at Santa Fe, Dec. 21, 1875. 

Judge Palen was a man of strong convictions and positive 
opinions, and was emphatic and determined in giving ex- 
pression to them. Attached and faithful to his friends, he 
was frankly and strongly opposed to his enemies, — a man of 
moral as well as physical courage, shrinking from the per- 
formance of no duty, and not deterred by any danger. He 
was without the elements of general popularity ; he avoided 
notoriety, and was averse to all demonstrations in honor of 
himself His tastes and mode of life were modest and simple, 
and his habits studious and reflective. In politics he was 
a Republican of the radical school. 

As a lawyer he was distinguished for his quick appre- 
hension, his accurate and extensive knowledge, his careful 
and thorough preparation, and skill and success in the argu- 
ment of his causes. His mind seemed to be adapted to the 
investigation and comprehension of legal principles, and to 
reach correct conclusions almost by intuition. He rarely 
made a mistake. As a practitioner, in the equity courts 
particularly, he was regarded by the older and more en- 
lightened members of the profession as being one of the 
ablest at the bar. His opinions were always accepted by 
them with great respect. He was an enlightened judge, 
just, independent, and conscientious. Prompt in his de- 
cisions, having in view, in all his adjudications, the promo- 
tion of truth and justice, he acquired an enviable reputation, 
and was recognized wherever he was known as an ornament 
to the judiciary of the country. 


This distinguished lawyer was born in Claverack in the 
year 1781, and was the son of Dr. George Monell, a very 
eminent physician of his day. He commenced the study 
of the law in the office of Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer, 
and afterwards entered the office of Peter Van Schaack. 
By his early associations, the adaptability of his mind, and 
his close application to studies, he attained the first rank in 
his profession. 

Mr. Monell always occupied a prominent position in the 
political affairs of the county, although he would never 
accept a prominent office. He was recorder of the city of 
Hudson from 1811 to 1813, and from 1815 to 1821 ; was 
presidential elector at the first election of President Monroe, 
in 1816; was district attorney in 1818; was member of 
the Assembly from this county in 1824 ; was for two con- 
secutive terms elected county clerk, — in 1828 and 1831 ; 
was three years supervisor of the city, and for many years 
a commissioner of loans of this county. 

He died in the city of Hudson on the 17th of Septem- 
ber, 1861. At a meeting of members of the Columbia 
county bar, held at the court-house on the following day, 
Judge Theodore Miller said, " The decease of Joseph D. 
Monell is an event which has caused a pang of sorrow to 
vibrate throughout the whole community. He has for 
many years occupied a high position as a lawyer and a 
citizen, and in his death the profession and the circle of his 
numerous friends have sustained an irreparable loss. 

" A native of this county, he lias been identified with its 
early history, and associated in his professional career with 
the great men who have conferred high honor upon it. 
He was the compeer of Van Buren, Van Ness, Williams, 
Spencer, and others, most of whom have long since passed 
away to their final account, leaving behind them an en- 
during fame. Amidst stich an array of genius he com- 
menced his professional life, which was lengthened out to 
an unusual period. For upwards of half a century Mr. 
Monell was engaged in a large and lucrative practice, and 
during that time filled high places of pubUc trust conferred 
on him by his fellow-citizens. He filled these offices with 
credit to himself and to the entire satisfaction of the public. 

" It was his own choice that he attained no higher posi- 
tion. Naturally diffident, he shrank intuitively from the 
high places of distinction outside his native county, and 
which I have reason to believe would have been conferred 
on him if desired, but which he refused to accept when 
tendered. He appeared to feel that his place of usefulness 
was in an humbler sphere. With talents and ability to 
fill the highest offices of honor and trust in the land, he 
generously declined them, and was content to confine his 
laboi-s to his own immediate neighborhood. It was for 
others and not for himself that he toiled. How many are 
now living who owe their success and elevation to his in- 
defatigable labors? How many has he pushed forward to 
eminence and distinction with a disinterestedness and self- 
sacrifice rarely witnessed? The field of his labors was in 
the more quiet walks of the profession, as he purposely 
avoided those of a public character, yet they were marked 
by striking characteristics which have never been sur- 



was descended from Holland ancestry, and was born in the 
town of Claverack, July 30, 1785. He received his edu- 
cation at the select academy in Claverack taught by An- 
drew Mayfield Carshore, an accomplished and successful 
teacher of that period. He studied law in the office of 
Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer, at Claverack, and was ad- 
mitted to the bar about the year 1807, soon after which lie 
established himself in business at the village of Johnstown, 
town of Livingston, in this county. He remained there 
until the year 1833, when he removed to the city of Hudson, 
where he died, Jan. 9, 1859. 

He, in conjunction with Ambrose L. Jordan and Joseph 
Lord, represented this county in the As.'-embly of 1825-2G ; 
again in 1828-29. He represented the county in the As- 
sembly with Elisha Williams and Abel S. Peters. He was 
elected county clerk in 1837, and in 1855 was elected to 
Congress from this district, proving himself an influential 
and able member during the two years of his term. 

Mr. Miller was a man of mark in his day. He was 
greatly distinguished as a lawyer, and won a solid reputa- 
tion and a prominent place among the many talented and 
brilliant men who adorned the bar of Columbia county, 
and made it celebrated throughout tiie State. 

As a lawyer he was noted for his persevering industry, 
his tact and discrimination in the trial of his causes, his 
profound knowledge of men as well as of legal principles, 
his loyalty to his client, and the great success which, in a 
long practice in this and adjoining counties, crowned his 
efforts as an advocate. He was never eloquent, in the 
ordinary sense of the term, but there was a vigor and 
earnestness and pungency in his thought and language, 
and a quickness and directness in his conceptions and 
theories, and a stern logic in all his views, which made 
him a most dangerous antagonist. The mind that would 
venture in collision with his must be daring as well as 
able. He had those broad and far-reaching powers of 
mind which enable the possessor to command the elements 
of legal philosophy and to create a jurisprudence of his 

He was well known throughout the State, and was 
thoroughly identified with the people of his own section. 
Of popular manners and irreproachable integrity, governed 
by generous and manly impulses, able and ingenuous, no 
one who knew Killian Miller in his prime would deny him 
the possession of any of the qualities which illustrate the 
learned and honorable lawyer of the old school. 

Elias Warren Leavenworth, son of Dr. David Leaven- 
worth, was born in Canaan, in this county, Dec. 20, 1803. 
At the age of sixteen he entered the Hudson Academy, 
then in charge of Rev. Dr. Parker, and in the following 
year he entered the sophomore class at Williams College, 
and, after spending a year there, entered the same class at 
Yale. In 1824 he was graduated with the degree of Bach- 
elor of Arts, and in due time received that of A.M. He 
commenced the study of law with William Cullen Bryant, 
at Great Barrington, Mass., and after a short time entered 
the law school at Litchfield, Conn., where he remained till 

1827. In the fall of that year he removed to Syracuse, 
N. Y., and was soon admitted to practice in the court of 
common pleas and the Supreme Court of the State. In 
1829 he formed a law partnership with the late B. Davis 
Noxon, which continued till 1850, the firm becoming one 
of the most prominent in that portion of the State. He 
was compelled to relinquish practice in the last-named year 
on account of ill health. From 1838 to 1841 inclusive he 
held the office of president of the village of Syracuse, and 
in 1849 was elected as its mayor, it having been incorpo- 
rated a city in the preceding year. In 1850 he was elected 
to the Assembly, and during his term was chairman of the 
committee on salt manufacture. He was named for the 
office of comptroller by Governor Fish in 1850, but, being 
ineligible by reason of membership in the Assembly, his 
name was withdrawn. In 1851 he was tendered the nomi- 
nation for attorney-general or judge of the court of appeals, 
but declined these honors. In 1853 he was elected secre- 
tary of state. In 1856 he was again elected to the As- 
sembly, and served as chairman of the committee on canals, 
and a member of that on banks, as well as chairman of the 
select committee on the equalization of the State tax. In 
1859 he was again mayor of Syracuse, and in the same year 
was defeated as a candidate for the office of secretary of 
state. In 18G0 he was appointed a member of the board 
of quarantine commissioners, and in 1801 became one of 
the regents of the university, and was nominated and con- 
firmed as commissioner on the part of the United States 
government under the convention with the government of 
New Granada, and served until the dissolution of the com- 
mission, in 1862. In 1865 he was made president of the 
board of commissioners appointed by the governor to locate 
the State Asylum for the Blind, and the same year a trus- 
tee of the State Asylum for Idiots, and in 1867 a trustee 
of Hamilton College. In 1872 he was one of the board of 
commissioners to amend the State constitution, and in the 
same year received the honorary degree of LL.D. from 
Hamilton College. 

He was elected to the Forty-fourth Congress on the Re- 
publican ticket, to represent the district comprising the 
counties of Onondaga and Cortland, but declined to accept 
a renomination, though urged to do so. 

In his earlier life he interested himself much in military 
matters, and, being commissioned a lieutenant of artillery 
in 1832, he passed rapidly through the intervening grades 
to that of brigadier-general, to which rank he was appointed 
in 1836, and a.ssigned to the command of the Seventh 
Brigade of Artillery. He resigned his commission in 1841. 
He is at present one of the most prominent and distin- 
guished citizens of the city of Syracuse. 

the son of a physician of considerable celebrity, was born at 
Kinderhook, Feb. 22, 1824. At an early age he completed 
his preparatory training in the Kinderhook Academy, and 
entered upon his collegiate course in the University of New 
York. He returned with its diploma to begin the study of 
medicine with his father, and after a thorough course he 
graduated at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, 1845. 
In 1847 he went to Paris to pursue his studies, remain- 


ing abroad till 1850; then returned and settled in Albany, 
where he soon became noted as a physician. In 1857 
Governor King appointed him surgeon-general of the State, 
and three years later he was chosen president of the Albany 
County Medical Society, and re-elected the following year. 
In 1861 he was again appointed surgeon-general of the 
State; this time by Governor Morgan. The opening of 
the War of the Rebellion made this position a most arduous 
one. The magnitude of the responsibility may be judged 
from the fact that there were between six and seven hun- 
dred positions upon the medical staff to be kept filled with 
capable officers. A still more significant testimony is em- 
bodied in the statement that at one time the surgeon-general 
was called upon to make over five hundred appointments in 
the space of six weeks. His successful administration of 
this office elicited the official approval of both the secretary 
of war and the governor of the State, and constitutes an 
important chapter in the record of the part taken by New 
York in the great conflict. 

In 1867 he was appointed to the chair of General Pathol- 
ogy and Clinical Medicine in the Albany Medical College, 
which he held for three years, and then resigned. At 
about the same time he was appointed a manager of the 
State Lunatic Asylum at Utica, and in February, 1870, was 
elected president of the Medical Society of the State of New 
York, the highest recognition in the power of his profes- 
sional brethren to bestow. 

In 1872 he was called by Governor Hoffman to take 
charge of the quarantine department of the port of New 
York as health-officer of the port. It is a position of great 
power and responsibility, but in the discharge of its duties 
Dr. Vanderpoel has given the highest satisfaction to mer- 
chants and others connected with the commerce of the city. 
In January, 1876, he was elected to the chair of Theory 
and Practice of Medicine in the Albany Medical College, — 
a position which, with his duties as health-officer, he has 
since earnestly sustained. 

was born in the city of Hudson, in this county, on the 1st 
day of January, in the year 1799. He received an aca- 
demic and collegiate education, decided upon the profession 
of the law as his pursuit, studied in the office of Judge 
James Vanderpoel, and after his admission to the bar prac- 
ticed for a short time in Rochester and in New Lebanon, 
but finally settled in Kinderhook, which was his home for 
nearly half a century. Early in his professional career he 
formed a partnership with Hon. Aaron Vanderpoel, and in 
1843 became associated in business with John H. Rey- 
nolds, late commissioner of appeals. This lasted until 
1851, and in 1856 the law firm of Tobey & Silvester was 
formed by his partnership with the Hon. Francis Silvester. 
This continued until his death, which occurred June 16, 
1878. In 1837 he was elected a member of Assembly, 
and from the commencement of the session, on the 2d of 
January, 1838, till its close, on the 18th day of April in 
that year, diligently devoted himself to the performance of 
his legislative duties. In the list of members of that body 
appear such names as Luther Bradish, John A. King, 
George W. Patterson, David B. Ogden, and Preston King, 

— all well and favorably known in the history of the State 
of New York. But no man among them was more atten- 
tive to the interests of his constituents or more influential 
than William H. Tobey. 

In the year 1811 he was appointed by Governor Seward 
surrogate of this county, and discharged the duties of that 
office for four years to the perfect satisfaction not only 
of all suitors in that court, but of the public at large, and 
in such a manner as to oflfer a sure protection to the im- 
portant interests which were constantly submitted for his 

In 1853 the Union Bank of Kinderhook was organized. 
Mr. Tobey was at once elected its president, and continued 
in that position till his death. The peculiarly successful 
career of that institution, the harmony which has pervaded 
all its management, and the uniformly high credit which it 
has maintained must be attributed, in no small degree, to 
the wise counsels and judicious management of its presiding 
officer. In November, 1861, after an exciting contest, Mr. 
Tobey was elected senator from the counties of Columbia 
and Dutchess, by the flattering majority of nine hundred 

The judiciary committee was then, as it is now, one of 
the most importjmt Senate committees, and upon that 
committee he was placed, in conjunction with Judges Fol- 
ger and Willard and Mr. Ganson, — men distinguished at 
the bar, on the bench, and in political life. Questions of 
the gravest interest not only to the State, but to the nation, 
were constantly discussed and decided during the whole of 
his official term. The country was then passing through 
the crisis of its existence ; its very life was at stake ; and 
the means of preserving that life were to be furnished, to a 
great extent, by the Empire State. No man among his 
brother senators could be found, in those trying days, more 
continually at his post of duty, or more earnest in the de- 
termination to vindicate the authority of^ the law and sus- 
tain the government, than the senator from Columbia and 
Dutchess. He comprehended as fully and clearly as did 
any one of his compeers all the delicate questions that were 
daily arising, brought to their consideration and solution 
all the powers of his vigorous mind, and ripe and mature 
studies and experience, and never failed to shed light upon 
any subject which he discussed. Of his career in the 
Senate it can be truthfully said, in his own words, which 
he applied to his lamented friend. Judge Willard, " he 
threw all his influence on the side of the government, the 
constitution, and the laws, and cheerfully lent his voice and 
his vote on all occasions to sustain the sovereignty of the 
Union and to crush out the rebellion." 

Deeply interested from early manhood in all questions 
affecting national and State politics, he was clear, decided, 
and unwavering in his views. AVhile the Whig party re- 
mained in existence he was one of its most ardent and 
energetic supporters, one of its most valued and trusted 
leaders in this section of the State, and a warm and active 
advocate of its policy and candidates. 

When the Republican party was organized, he became 
one of its earliest and most efficient members, and con- 
tinued true to its principles till death. 

The cause of education found a warm advocate in him. 



He was, at the time of his deatli, and had been for many 
years, president of the board of trustees of Kinderhook 
Academy ; he was deeply interested in all that pertained to 
its welfare, and constantly ready to labor and contribute for 
its advancement. 

As a lawyer Mr. Tobey was well read, thoroughly 
grounded in the principles of the law, devoted to the inter- 
ests of his clients, sparing no study in the investigation of 
the cases committed to his charge, and entering upon the 
preparation and trial of every cause with which he was 
intrusted, with energetic zeal and keen discrimination. 
During his long years of practice, the roll of members of 
the bar of Columbia county contained many distinguished 
names. But it is doing no injustice to those now num- 
bered with himself among the departed, or those who still 
remain to bear the heat and burden of the day, to claim 
that he has been surpassed by none of his compeers and 
associates in all the various qualifications and essentials 
necessary to constitute the useful, trustworthy, honored, 
and distinguished lawyer and counselor. 



The bar of Columbia county has always been a noted 
one. On its roll of attorneys appear names which have 
been in the past household words, and whose fame has en- 
riched the annals of the State and nation. 

From the highest place in the gift of the people, down- 
ward through almost every grade of official life, this bar 
has been represented with honor. Many of its illustrious 
members in the past have personal mention elsewhere in 
these pages, and many of its present members are worthily 
filling the high places vacated by their predecessors. On 
the roll of the Columbia bar there is to-day no lack of 
names which might properly be written beside the eminent 
ones of the past, but such mention is not within the scope 
and plan of this work. 

The roll of attorneys who have had a residence in the 
county from its organization to the present time, as gath- 
ered from the records of the courts, and revised by several 
of the oldest practitioners of the Columbia bar, is as fol- 
lows :* 

178G.— John Bay, Ezekiel Gilbert. Killian K. Van 
Rensselaer, Peter Van Schaack, John C. Wynkoop, Myn- 
dert P. Vosburgh, Elisha Pratt. 

1787. — Hezekiah L. Hosmer. 

1788. — Ambrose Spencer, Martin Van Buren, Thomas 
Cooper, Philip L. HoflFman, Isaac Goes. 

1789. — Francis Silvester, Elihu Chauncey Goodrich. 

1790.— John C. Schuyler, Peter L. Van Alen, Peter 
W. Livingston. 

«■ The date given is the date of the admission to tlie Columbia 
county courts, as evidenced by the signature on the parchment-roll 
of the court, or the fir-st appearance in the court for business. 

1791. — Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer, Henry C. Van 
Schaack, John P. Van Ness, John Van Hoesen Huyck. 

1792. — Barent Hoes, Barent Van Buren, Daniel "Whit- 

1793.— Elisha Williams. 

1794. — James I. Van Alen. 

1795. — John Champlin. 

1796.— William W. Van Ness, Philip Gebhard, Garret 
B. Van Ness. 

1797. — Barent Gardenier. 

1798.— Francis Silvester, Jr. 

1799.— Wm. P. Van Ness. 

1801.— Elisha Holly, Thomas Bay. 

1802.— Philip S. Parker, David Knapp, Ebenezer Foote, 
John King. 

1803. — Francis Pruyn, Matthew Cantine, Joseph D. 
Monell, Cornelius P. Van Ness. 

1804. — Thomas P. Grosvenor. 

1806. — Cornelius Beekman, Daniel Rodman. 

1807.— Killian Miller, John Woodward. 

1808. — Abraham P. Holdridge, James Vanderpoel. 

1810. — Cornelius Miller, James Strong, James H. Ham- 
ilton, Justus McKinstry. 

1811. — Abraham A. Van Buren. 

1813. — Thomas Beekman, Benjamin F. Butler. 

1814. — Thomas K. Baker, Moses J. Cantine. 

1815.— James J. Bill. 

1816. — Chester Ashley (United States senator from 
Texas), David Van Schaack, Austin Abbott, Benjamin P. 

1817.— John B. Dexter, Julius Wilcoxson. 

1818.— Campbell Bushnell, Reuben Rowley, Chester 
Beale, Daniel B. Tallmadge. 

1819.— William Overbaugh, John W. Edmonds. 

1820.— James H. Teackle, Wra. H. Tobey, Aaron Van- 
derpoel, Ambrose L. Jordan, Charles Waldo. 

1821. — David F. Barstow, Allen Jordan. 

1822.— Robert H. Morris. 

1823. — Chester Sturtevant. 

1825.— Eleazer Root, Jr., Chas. Esselstyn, Cyrus M. 

1826.— Nathan Chamberlain. 

1827.— John B. Van Ness. 

1828. — J. Rutsen Van Rensselaer, Jr., Darius Peck. 

1829.— Russell G. Door, Chas. B. Dutcher, W. W. 
Brodhead, Carroll Livingston. 

1830.— Wheeler H. Clarke, Josiah Sutherland, John 
Gaul, Jr., John Snyder, John Sanders, Jr., Peter H. Sil- 
vester, Henry Hogeboom, Martin Van Deusen, Peter Van 
Schaack, Jr. 

1831.— Robert B. Monell, Wm. H. Freeland, G. C. 
Heermance, James Burt, W. D. Henderson. 

1832. — George G. Bull, Josiah W. Fairfield, James 
Sutherland, Jr. 

1833. — James Storm, A. Underbill, S. Russell, 
Alonzo Greene, George W. Bulkeley. 

1834.— E. C. Halsey. 

1835.— Robert C. Van Rensselaer, Robert L. Dorr, 
Edwin C. Litchfield. 

1836. — Josephus D. Jordan, Daniel B. Cady. 

'V '^ 

f^ON. /<CNf?YftoCEBOOM 


Hon. Henry Hogeboom, late judge of the Supreme 
Court, was prominently before the public in various legal 
and judicial capacities for more than thirty years, and came 
of distinguished ancestry. His grandfather, Hon. Corne- 
lius Hogeboom, was a descendant of the oldest Knicker- 
bocker stock of the Stat«. He was for several years high- 
sheriff of Columbia county, and while an incumbent of 
that office, and in the discharge of official duties, he was 
killed in the town of Hinsdale, in the year 1791. Hon. 
John C. Hogeboom, the father of the judge, was a gentle- 
man of the purest integrity, and of commanding influence 
in the county. He was high-sheriff for two terms, and 
discharged the duties of that position with an energy, 
fidelity, and promptitude which won him universal com- 
mendation and respect. He was twice elected member of 
Assembly from his native county ; was once elected State 
senator ; was a member of the old council of appointment ; 
was presidential elector, and oast his electoral vote for Hon. 
George Clinton, with whom he sustained relations of warm- 
est personal friendship. He was also the first president of 
the old Bank of Hudson, whose banking house was the 
same building occupied by the subject of this biography 
until the time of his death. 

Hon. Henry Hogeboom was born in Ghent, Colombia 
county, N. Y., on the 25th of February, 1809. He per- 
sued his academic studies preparatory to entering college at 
the old academy in Hudson, and graduated at Yale College, 
after a full course, at the early age of eighteen years. 

Soon after he left college he began the study of law in the 
office of Messrs. Power & Day, eminent legal practitioners 
in the village of Catskill, and completed his course of legal 
reading with Hon. Mr. Bushnell, then a prominent lawyer 
of Hudson. He was admitted to practice in 1830, and in 
1831 was appointed by his excellency, Enos Throop, then 
governor of New York, a master in chancery and one of 
the county judges of Columbia county. Immediately aft«r 
his appointment to this position he was chosen by his 
associates presiding judge of the county, which office he 
filled with dignity and universal acceptance for three years. 
After the expiration of his judicial term he resumed the 
active practice of his profession, becoming the law partner 
of Hon. Abraham Van Buren, with whom he continued 
until the death of Mr. Van Buren, in 1836. He then formed 
a copartnership with Hon. Joseph D. Monell, which con- 
tinued until 1845. While a partner with Mr. Monell, Judge 
Hogeboom was elected a member of Assembly from Co- 
lumbia county, and immediately upon the meeting of the 
Legislature took rank with the ablest, purest, and most 
influential members of that body. Soon aft«r the dissolu- 
tion of the partnership with Mr. Monell, he became a 
partner with Casper P. Collier, Esq., of Hudson ; subse- 
quently with his favorite nephew, Hon. William A. Porter, 
late chief justice of the superior court of Chicago ; and 
after the election of Mr. Porter to the office of district 
attorney of Columbia county, Judge Hogeboom became 
connected in law business with the late William Boies, Esq. 



He was, at the time of his deatli, and had been for many 
years, president of the board of trustees of Kinderhook 
Academy ; he was deeply interested in all that pertained to 
its welfare, and constantly ready to labor and contribute for 
its advancement. 

As a lawyer Mr. Tobey was well read, thoroughly 
grounded in the principles of the law, devoted to the inter- 
ests of his clients, sparing no study in the investigation of 
the cases committed to his charge, and entering upon the 
preparation and trial of every cause with which he was 
intrusted, with energetic zeal and keen discrimination. 
During his long years of practice, the roll of members of 
the bar of Columbia county contained many distinguished 
names. But it is doing no injustice to those now num- 
bered with himself among the departed, or those who still 
remain to bear the heat and burden of the day, to claim 
that he has been surpassed by none of his compeers and 
associates in all the various qualifications and essentials 
necessary to constitute the useful, trustworthy, honored, 
and distinguished lawyer and counselor. 



The bar of Columbia county has always been a noted 
one. On its roll of attorneys appear names which have 
been in the past household words, and whose fiime has en- 
riched the annals of the State and nation. 

From the highest place in the gift of the people, down- 
ward through almost every grade of oflBcial life, this bar 
has been represented with honor. Many of its illustrious 
members in the past have personal mention elsewhere in 
these pages, and many of its present members are worthily 
filling the high places vacated by their predecessors. On 
the roll of the Columbia bar there is to-day no lack of 
names which might properly be written beside the eminent 
ones of the past, but such mention is not within the scope 
and plan of this work. 

The roll of attorneys who have had a residence in the 
county from its organization to the present time, as gath- 
ered from the records of the courts, and revised by several 
of the oldest practitioners of the Columbia bar, is as fol- 
lows :* 

1786.— John Bay, Ezekiel Gilbert. Killian K. Van 
Rensselaer, Peter Van Schaack, John C. Wynkoup, Myn- 
dert P. Vosburgh, Elisha Pratt. 

1787. — Hezekiali L. Hosmer. 

1788. — Ambrose Spencer, Martin Van Buren, Thomas 
Cooper, Philip L. Hoffman, Isaac Goes. 

1789. — Francis Silvester, Elihu Chauncey Goodrich. 

1790.— John C. Schuyler, Peter L. Van Alen, Peter 
W. Livingston. 

* The date given is the (late of the admission to tlie Columbia 
county courts, as evidenced by the signature on the parchment-roll 
of the court, or the first appearance in the court for business. 

1791. — Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer, Henry C. Van 
Schaack, John P. Van Ness, John Van Hoesen Huyck. 

1792. — Barent Hoes, Barent Van Buren, Daniel Whit- 

1793.— Elisha Williams. 

1794. — James I. Van Alen. 

1795. — John Champlin. 

1796.— William W. Van Ness, Philip Gebhard, Garret 
B. Van Ness. 

1797.— Barent Gardenier. 

1798.— Francis Silvester, Jr. 

1799.— Wm. P. Van Ness. 

1801.— Elisha Holly, Thomas Bay. 

1802. — Philip S. Parker, David Knapp, Ebenezer Foote, 
John King. 

1803. — Francis Pruyn, Matthew Cantine, Joseph D. 
Monell, Cornelius P. Van Ness. 

1804. — Thomas P. Grosvenor. 

1806. — Cornelius Beekman, Daniel Rodman. 

1807.— Killian Miller, John Woodward. 

1808. — Abraham P. Iloldridge, James Vanderpoel. 

1810. — Cornelius Miller, James Strong, James H. Ham- 
ilton, Justus McKinstry. 

1811. — Abraham A. Van Buren. 

1813. — Thomas Beekman, Benjamin P. Butler. 

1814.— Thomas K. Baker, Moses J. Cantine. 

1815.— James J. Bill. 

1816. — Chester Ashley (United States senator from 
Texas), David Van Schaack, Austin Abbott, Benjamin P. 

1817. — John B. Dexter, Julius Wilcoxson. 

1818.— Campbell Bushnell, Reuben Rowley, Chester 
Beale, Daniel B. Tallmadge. 

1819.- William Overbaugh, John W. Edmond.s. 

1820.— James H. Teackle, Wm. H. Tobey, Aaron Van- 
derpoel, Ambrose L. Jordan, Charles Waldo. 

1821. — David F. Barstow, Allen Jordan. 

1822.— Robert H. Monis. 

1823. — Chester Sturtevant. 

1825. — Eleazer Root, Jr., Chas. Esselstyn, Cyrus M. 

1826.— Nathan Chamberlain. 

1827.— John B. Van Ness. 

1828. — J. Rutsen Van Rensselaer, Jr., Darius Peck. 

1829.— Russell G. Door, Chas. B. Dutcher, W. W. 
Brodhead, Carroll Livingston. 

1830.— Wheeler H. Clarke, Josiah Sutherland, John 
Gaul, Jr., John Snyder, John Sanders, Jr., Peter H. Sil- 
vester, Henry Hogeboom, Martin Van Deusen, Peter Van 
Schaack, Jr. 

1S31.— Robert B. Monell, Wm. H. Freeland, G. C. 
Heerraance, James Burt, W. D. Henderson. 

1832.— George G. Bull, Josiah W. Fairfield, James 
Sutherland, Jr. 

1833. — James Storm, A. Underbill, Ambrose S. Russell, 
Alonzo Greene, George W. Bulkeley. 

1834.— E. C. Halsey. 

1835.— Robert C. Van Rensselaer, Robert L. Dorr, 
Edwin C. Litchfield. 

1836. — Josephus D. Jordan, Daniel B. Cady. 


Hon. Henry Hogeboom, late judge of the Supreme 
Court, was prominently before the public in various legal 
and judicial capacities for more than thirty years, and came 
of distinguished ancestry. His grandfather, Hon. Corne- 
lius Hogeboom, was a descendant of the oldest Knicker- 
bocker stock of the State. He was for several years high- 
sheriff of Columbia county, and while an incumbent of 
that office, and in the discharge of official duties, he was 
killed in the town of Hinsdale, in the year 1791. Hon. 
John C. Hogeboom, the father of the judge, was a gentle- 
man of the purest integrity, and of commanding influence 
in the county. He was high-sheriff for two terms, and 
discharged the duties of that position with an energy, 
fidelity, and promptitude which won him universal com- 
mendation and respect. He was twice elected member of 
Assembly from his native county ; was once elected State 
senator ; was a member of the old council of appointment ; 
was presidential elector, and cast his electoral vote for Hon. 
George CUnton, with whom he sustained relations of warm- 
est personal friendship. He was also the first president of 
the old Bank of Hudson, whose banking house was the 
same building occupied by the subject of this biography 
until the time of his death. 

Hon. Henry Hogeboom was bom in Ghent, Columbia 
county, N. Y., on the 25th of February, 1809. He per- 
sued his academic studies preparatory to entering college at 
the old academy in Hudson, and graduated at Yale College, 
after a full course, at the early age of eighteen years. 

Soon after he left college he began the study of law in the 
office of Messrs. Power & Day, eminent legal practitioners 
in the village of Catskill, and completed his course of legal 
reading with Hon. Mr. Bushnell, then a prominent lawyer 
of Hudson. He was admitted to practice in 1830, and in 
1831 was appointed by his excellency, Enos Throop, then 
governor of New York, a master in chancery and one of 
the county judges of Columbia county. Immediately after 
his appointment to this position he was chosen by his 
associates presiding judge of the county, which office he 
filled with dignity and universal acceptance for three years. 
After the expiration of his judicial term he resumed the 
active practice of his profession, becoming the law partner 
of Hon. Abraham Van Buren, with whom he continued 
until the death of Mr. Van Buren, in 1836. He then formed 
a copartnership with Hon. Joseph D. Monell, which con- 
tinued until 1845. While a partner with Mr. Monell, Judge 
Hogeboom was elected a member of Assembly from Co- 
lumbia county, and immediately upon the meeting of the 
Legislature took rank with the ablest, purest, and most 
influential members of that body. Soon aft«r the dissolu- 
tion of the partnership with Mr. Monell, he became a 
partner with Casper P. Collier, Esq., of Hudson; subse- 
quently with his favorite nephew, Hon. William A. Porter, 
late chief justice of the superior court of Chicago ; and 
after the election of Mr. Porter to the office of district 
attorney of Columbia county. Judge Hogeboom became 
connected in law business with the late William Boies, Esq. 


his son-in-law, under the firm-name of Hogeboom & Boies. 
During this period that law firm opened an office in the 
city of Albany. This partnership continued until the re- 
moval of Mr. Boies to the city of New York, when Judge 
Hogeboom formed a law partnership with the late P. Bone- 
steel, which continued until the elevation of the former to the 
bench of the Supreme Court in 1858. 

Judge Hogeboom had been from his earliest manhood a 
member of the Democratic party, and by that party was 
nominated for judge of the Supreme Court in 1847, his 
opponent being the late Hon. William B. Wright, who 
received the certificate of election. In 1849 he was again 
nominated by the same party and opposed by the same 
candidate, and although the result was that Judge Wright 
received the certificate of election, yet a legal investigation 
proved the existence of frauds in Rensselaer county which 
more than nullified the one hundred majority claimed and 
finally conceded to Judge Wright. 

In 1857, Judge Hogeboom was made the candidate of 
a popular nomination in favor of an anti-partisan judiciary. 
He was indorsed by the Republican organization of the 
Third Judicial district, and elected by the overwhelming 
majority of twelve thousand in the district, his own county 
giving him a majority of two thousand nine hundred, and 
the town of Austerlitz, in that county, out of .a popular 
vote of two hundred and four, gave him a majority of 
two hundred and two. 

In 1865 he was again elected by a large majority, and in 
a district whose party majority was several thousand against 
candidates on the same ticket. 

Judge Hogeboom married in early life Miss Jane Eliza 
Rivington, daughter of Colonel James Rivington, of New 
York, and granddaughter of John Rivington, Esq., of 
Revolutionary memory. She was one of the most charm- 
ing women, a lady of refinement, culture, grace, and great 
personal beauty. The peculiar elegance of her manners ; 
the soft and gentle graces of her character ; the sweetness 
and spotless purity of her Christian life ; and the delightful 
and fascinating amenity of her disposition, made her a 
favorite in every social circle, the favored object of de- 
voted friendship and respectful admiration, and the pride 
of her noble husband. With the departure of his com- 
panion, in 1858, went all the joy and light of his life for a 
time, and in the grave of that loved one he laid away that 
sacred affection of his heart, free from all other earthly love 
except that next akin to it which he bore for his and her 

From an early period in his professional career Judge 
Hogeboom excelled as a nisi 2)r ins lawyer and advocate, and 
he soon attained high distinction. His mind, cultivated 
and affluently stored with all rich and rare thought from 
the classic lore of the past, from the " wells of English un- 
defiled," from rhetoric, history, philosophy, and poetry of 
ancient and modern times, poured forth its glittering and 
jeweled abundance whenever a fitting occasion offered. He 
possessed a voice of mellow cadence and rich compass ; his 
language was rich, ornate, and fluent, yet chaste and appro- 
priate; his fine figure, his dignified bearing, the grace. 

force, and eloquence of his gesticulation, all made his 
forensic efforts masterpieces of excellence. 

He was a profound lawyer, most skillful in his analysis 
and felicitous in his application. His views on all legal 
questions were broad, and he seemed equally at home before 
the court in bane or before a jury. No one who ever heard 
him when fully aroused could forget the impressiveness, 
grace, and power of his efforts. He awed, captivated, and 
charmed, all in one. Perhaps his grandest forensic effort 
was upon the trial of Mrs. Robertson, — known as the 
" veiled murderess." His effort then was masterly, and 
carried the case to a conviction. 

His latest and perhaps his greatest exhibition of judicial 
ability was upon the trial of the notorious murderer, Ru- 
loff, at Binghamton, in January, 1871. Never will his 
charge to the jury in that case be forgotten by any one who 
heard it. " It possessed the grand conciseness of Lord 
Mansfield, with the same majesty, serenity, and all the im- 
placability of incarnate justice itself, equally devoid of fa- 
voritism or fear." 

As a judge he was upright and unapproachable, yet 
suave, courteous, and conciliatory. No one suspected him 
of favoritism or partiality ; no one accused him of fear of 
timidity. Above all, he believed when placed upon the 
bench the judge should sink the politician, and ignore all 
the arts of the partisan and the demagogue. His judicial 
ability is certified to in every volume of our State reports ; 
is universally recognized wherever he has borne aloft the 
scales of justice ; and was attested at his death-hour by 
the sad yet unanimous acclaim of the bar and bench of 
the whole State and city, and by all the litigants who had 
ever been before him. 

As a man and a friend he was the kindest and truest. 
Tender in his domestic relations, and generous and kind 
towards all, he loved right better than success, and the pro- 
motion of justice better than to wear the laurels of glory. 
He was loved by every young member of the bar, for he 
never wantonly injured their feelings, or unnecessarily 
checked any laudable ambition for advancement. On the 
contrary, he unselfishly recognized and encouraged merit and 
talent wherever found, and gave a helping hand to aspiring 
youths in the rugged and difficult paths of their profession. 

He departed this life Sept. 12, 1872, in the sixty-third 
year of his age, ripe in experience and wisdom, and uni- 
versally mourned as one whose place cannot be easily filled. 
His heart was large with all, — embracing beneficence, warm 
with tenderest love for family and friends, liberal towards 
all charities, and trustful in simple Christian faith in the 
goodness and unfailing care of his God. His funeral ob- 
sequies were among the most imposing ever witnessed upon 
the decease of any citizen, being attended by nearly the 
whole bench of the State, and a large concourse of dis- 
tinguished citizens from abroad. 

He left three children, — John C. Hogeboom, a well- 
known citizen of this county; Susan R., wife of the late 
William Boies ; and Margaret, wife of Hon. Herman V. 
Esselstyn, recent surrogate of the county. John C. Hoge- 
boom has one son, who bears the name of his grandfather. 


1837.— Theodore Miller. 

1838. — Joseph G. Paleu (chief-justice of New Mexico, 
now deceased). 

1839.— S. V. Cady, Claudius L. Moiiell, Martin Gilbert, 
Edward P. Cowles, George C. Clyde, C. P. Schermerhora. 

1840. — Levi Rowley, Martin Pechtel, Gershom Buikeley, 
P. M. Jordan. 

1841.— Wesley R. Gallup, N. T. Rossiter, Stephen 
Storm, Stephen L. Magoun. 

1842.— Henry P. Horton, Henry Miller, George M. 
Soule, P. W. Bishop, Edwin A. Maynard, Alexander S. 
Rowley, D. A. Baldwin, Robert H. McClellan. 

1843. — Edward A. Dunscombe, Philip J. Clum, John 
C. Newkirk, Robert E. Andrews, William Caldwell, John 
II. Reynolds, Robert Burrell Storm. 

1844.— Philip H. Bonesteel. 

1845.— John W. Rider, Charles Smith, C. P. Collier, 
Stephen B. Miller, Edward R. Peck, James Elmendorf 

1846. — Rodolphus P. Skinner, George Van Santvoord, 
Hugh W. McClellan (county judge), Horatio N. Wright. 

1847.— Elijah Payn, W. W. Hoysradt, Aaron J. Van- 
derpoel, John McArthur Welch, C. M. Hall. 

1849.- Mitchell Sanford, Edwin Hoes, D. S. Cowles. 

1850.— Charles H. Bramhall, De Witt Miller, W. C. 

1851.— Charles L. Beale. 

1852.— H. B. Barnard. 

1853.— Seymour L. Stebbins, Wm. Boies, C. H. Porter. 

1854.— C. B. Whitbeck, F. M. Butler, Peter Bonesteel, 
John Cadman (ex-county judge), William A. Porter, James 

1855.— John B. Lougley, N. S. Post. 

1856. — -Francis Silvester, Cornelius Esselstyne, Martin 
H. Dorr, John Whitbeck. 

1857. — Daniel Sheldon. 

1858.— Theodore Snyder. 

1859.— Isaac N. Collier, J. V. Whitbeck. 

I860.— J. A. Lant, Alfred Nash, John C. Hogeboom. 

1863.— Horace R. Peck, A. F. B. Chase. 

1864.— Charles H. Lown, Jacob P. Miller, S. M. Van 
Wyck, Jr. 

1865.— Herman V. Esselstyne, W. C. Daley, Charles 
A. Baurhyte. 

1866.— William H. Atwood. 

1867.— William H. Hawver, Edward P. Magoun, Wil- 
lard Peek, Levi F. Longley. 

1868. — Robert Hood, George K. Daley, Gilbert Langdon. 

1870.— R. J. Payn, Erastus Coons. 

1872.— Charles M. Bell, Louis K. Brown, Eugene Bur- 
lingame, Samuel Edwards, Alonzo H. Farrar, Ransom H. 
Gillett, Arthur M. Hawkes, W. H. Silvernail, W. W. Sax- 
ton, G. S. Collier. 

1873.— A. B. Gardenier, John C. Hubbard, Josiah A. 

1875. — Stephen F. Avery, J. Rider Cady, James B. 
Daley, E. D. Delamater, Chancellor Hawver, Giles H. 
O'Neill, George H. Stever. 

1876.— Claudius Rockefeller. 

1877.— Nelson F. Boucher, George D. Earle, JIark 



Hudson. — Robert E. Andrews, W. C. Bent«n, Chas. L. 
Beale, Nelson F. Boucher, Fayette M. Butler, W. IT. Clarke, 
W. F. Clarke, Caspar P. Collier, Isaac N. Collier, J. Rider 
Cady, A. F. B. Chace, Mark Duntz, E. D. Delamater, Cor- 
nelius Esselstyne, Herman V. Esselstyne, Samuel Edwards, 
J. W. Fairfield, John Gaul, Jr. (1830), Chancellor Haw- 
ver, John C. Hogeboom, Peter M. Jordan, John B. Long- 
ley (district attorney), Levi F. Lougley (county clerk), J. 
H. Lant, Robert B. Monell, Stephen L. Magoun, Edward 
P. Magoun, Henry Miller, Jacob P. Miller, John C. New- 
kirk, Giles H. O'Neill, Darius Peck (1828), Horace R. 
Peck, Willard Peck, Alexander S. Rowley, Claudius Rock- 
efeller, James Storm, R. B. Storm, S. M. Van Wyck, Jr., 
John V. Whitbeck, John McA. Welch. 

Kinderhook.—Wm. H. Atwood, G. S. Collier, Theodore 
Snyder, Francis Silvester. 

West Taffhkanic— Stephen F. Avery. 
Taghkanic.—Wm. H. Hawver. 

Greenport. — C. A. Baurhyte. 

Chatham Village.— houis K. Brown, Hugh W. McClel- 
lan (county judge), John Cadman, W. C. D;iley, Nathan 
S. Post, Geo. K. Daley, Josiah H. Mills. 

Chatham. — James B. Daley. 

Nwth Chatham. — W. Heermance. 

East Chatham.— W. W. Saxton. 
Valatie. — Gershom Buikeley, Geo. D. Earle, Alonzo H. 
Farrar, A. B. Gardenier, Wm. H. Silvernail. 

Germantowii. — Erastus Coons. 

Hillsdale.— MsLTtln H. Dorr. 

Ghent. — John T. Hogeboom, C. H. Porter. 

Philmont. — Henry P. Horton. 

Ancram,. — W. W. Hoysradt. 

Livingston. — Robert Hood. 

Copake. — Gilbert Langdon, Daniel Sheldon. 


was organized January 21, 1878, with John Gaul, Jr., as 
president ; John C. Newkirk, Hugh W. McClellan, vice- 
presidents ; Edw. P. Magoun, recording secretary ; Willard 
Peck, corresponding secretary ; Cornelius Esselstyne, treas- 
urer ; R. E. Andrews, John Cadman, S. L. Magoun, J. 
R. Cady, Samuel Edwards, executive committee ; A. F. B. 
Chace, C. L. Beale, Samuel Edwards, Willard Peck, and 
C. M. Bell, committee on admission ; and Francis Silvester, 
John C. Newkirk, N. F. Boucher, E. R. Delamater, and 
Chancellor Hawver, committee on grievances. The regular 
meetings of the association are published for the third 
Mondays of January and June, second Monday in April, 
and first Monday in October. Within one month from the 
date of organization about one-third of the members of the 
bar of the county were enrolled as members of the asso- 

Resolutions of respect and condolence have been passed 
by the bar and spread upon the records of the courts on 
the death of eminent members in several instances. Among 
them Joseph D. Monell, in 1861, Hon. John Snyder and 
Colonel David S. Cowles, in 1863, — Mr. Snyder dying sud- 
denly in his house, and Colonel Cowles at the head of his 
regiment in the attack on Port Hudson, — H. N. Wright, 



1867, and Hon. Henry Hogeboom, in 1872. Eulogies on 
the deceased attorneys were pronounced by Mr. Gaul, Judge 
Newkirk, and others. 

The circuit court was in session when the news of the 
assassination of President Lincoln was received in Hudson, 
and a committee of the bar was immediately appointed to 
draft resolutions expressive of the feelings of the court and 
bar on the awful crime. The committee reported a series 
of resolutions expressing their utter detestation of the 
crime and the principles that prompted its commission, and 
the deep feeling of respect for the murdered chief magis- 
trate, which were by order of the court spread upon the 
records, on motion of Mr. Gaul, who made appropriate 
remarks relative thereto, as did also Judge Henry Hoge- 
boom, and the court was adjourned for the day. 


The first act of the Legislature regulating the practice of 
medicine and surgery was that of June 10, 1760. It was 
amended in 1792, and again in 1797, and under the latter 
act judges of the State courts and courts of common pleas 
and masters in chancery were authorized to license persons 
to practice as physicians upon proof that the applicant had 
pursued for two years the study of medicine. By the act 
of April 4, 1806, five or more physicians in a county or in 
adjoining counties could form a medical society. Such 
societies were empowered to grant licenses to practice medi- 
cine in the State, and the State society could grant diplomas. 
The latter was organized in 1807, and has maintained its 
organization to the present time. Delegates from the county 
societies compose its membership. The restrictions laid 
upon practice without a diploma were finally abolished in 
1844, and the law now makes no distinction between the 
different classes of practitioners. Those assuming to act as 
physicians become responsible for their practice, and if not 
licensed by a county or State society, or are not regular 
graduates of a medical school, they can collect pay accord- 
ing to the time employed, but cannot collect the specific fees 
implying professional skill which are recognized by the 
established usages of the profession. 

The statute of 1806, for the incorporation of medical 
societies for the purpose of regulating the practice of medi- 
cine and surgery, may be considered one of the first eiforts 
made in this country to give to the medical profession an 
honorable station in the community. 

The advantages to the community in placing the regula- 
tion of the medical profession under the direction of its 
own members has already been greatly manifested by the 
promotion of medical education, the encouragements given 
to physical inquiries and observation, and the diminished 
influence of pretenders to the healing art throughout the 


The organization of this society was eifected at a meeting 
of physicians and surgeons of the county of Columbia, held 
on the first Tuesday in June, 180G, at which there were 
present Drs. George Monell, Henry Jlalcolm, Noah Wells, 
John Milton Mann, Henry L. Van Dyck, Samuel White, 
William Bay, George Birdsall, John Talman. Dr. George 
Monell was chosen to ofiiciate as moderator, and the follow- 

ing were elected the first officers of the society, namely : 
Dr. William Wilson, president; Dr. Thomas Brodhead, 
vice-president; and Drs. William Bay and Henry Malcolm, 
respectively, secretary and treasurer ; after which it was 

" Reaoli'ed, That the annual meetings of this society shall be on 
the first Tuesday in October, at ten of the clock in the forenoon, at 
the city of Hudson ; and 

" Reeulved, That Mann, Malcolm, and White be a committee to 
draft the bye-laws, and that they report them at the next meeting ; 

" Jieiolved, That the secretary inform the president and the vice- 
president of their appointment, and the request of the society that 
the president read a dissertation at the annual meeting." 

The following is a list of the names of members, past 
and present, of the Columbia County Medical Society, with 
date of their admission :* 

1806.— Samuel White, John Milton Mann, Hudson; 
William WiKson, Clermont ; George Monell, Claverack ; 
Henry Malcolm, Hudson ; Noah Wells ; Henry L. Van 
Dyck, Kinderhook ; William Bay, Claverack ; George Bird- 
sail ; Thomas Brodhead, Clermont ; John Talman, Hudson. 

The names above mentioned are those of the first mem- 
bers of the Columbia County Medical Society, and they 
stand as landmarks of a new era in medicine, — the era of 
medical associations. 

1307. — Daniel Morris, William Barthrop (Kinderhook), 
Augustus F. Hayden, Peter Sharp, Joseph Jewett, John 
McClellan (Livingston, died in Hudson), John De Lame- 
ter, David Abrams. 

1809.— E. B. Pugsley (Ghent). 

1810.— John P. Beekman (Kinderhook), Abraham Jor- 
dan (Claverack). 

1811.— Moses Burt. 

1812.- Thomas Belton. 

1813.— John C. Olmstead. 

1818.— David Mellen (Hudson), S. T. B. Plainer, John 
T. Brodhead (Clermont), Squire Jones, Robert G. Frary 

1821. — Horatio Root (Chatham), John Merriman, Henry 
D. Wright (Lebanon), Eleazer Root (Chatham). 

1822. — John Van Der Poel (Kinderhook), Alpheus 
Abrams, Edward H. Reynolds, Isaac Everist, Andrew Van 

1823.— Hosea Beebe, Edward Dorr (Hillsdale), Robert 

1824.— Asa Spaulding, Samuel Pomroy White (Hud- 
son), Hessel T. Van Orden (Germantown), Ebenezer Reed 

1825. — Peter Van Buren (Clermont), John Sutherland. 

1826. — Henry Foote (Spencertown), Thomas Sears, 
Henry A. Hermancc. 

1828. — John Lusk, Levi B. Skinner, Stephen Platner 
(Copake), John Hunt (Hudson), Wm. M. Jones (Johns- 
town, died in Hudson), Samuel R. McClellan (Hudson), 
Peter P. Rossman (Ancram), Erick King, Jesse Ferris. 

1829. — Benjamin McKeeney (Hudson), Abner Dayton, 
John B. Rossman, Russell Evart, Wm. H. Wilson. 

* This list, and the succeeding brief sketches of a few of the old 
physicians of the county, were prepared by a committee of the med- 
ical society, ai)pointed for the purpose at their meeting in June, 



1830.— Joseph Chadwick (Cliatham), Bostwick 0. Mil- 
ler, George H. White (Hudson), Jacob S. Miller, John H. 
Cole (Clavcraek), Stillmau E. Ames, Montilliou Beckwith, 
Wm. E. Buckley (Hillsdale). 

1832. — James Hubbard, John M. Pruyn (Kinderhook), 
Seymour W. Simpson, John 0. Flagler, Robert Rossman, 
J. W. Palmer, Stephen Hinsdale (Claverack). 

1835.— Volkert Whitbeck (Hudson), William C. Bell, 
Charles Bull, Richard H. Mesick (Ghent), Robert Clow 

1837.- Daniel Sargent, Hoagland ; C. W. Beman, 

James H. Barnes (Ghent), Wm. B. Fiuch, Allen A. Jor- 
dan (Claverack). 

1838. — Joseph Bates (New Lebanon Springs), Henry 

B. Salmon (Stuyvesant). 

1839. — Peter Van Zandt, Robert Humphrey (Green- 
port), F. W. Jenkins. 

1840.— G. W. Cawkins (Germantown), N. Rusk, F. A. 
Warner, J. Robinson, William Wright, Daniel Haynes, 
Peter R. Coffin. 

18-12. — Frankly n D. Pierson, Stephen G. Tallmadge, 
Harvey Cole, Conradt Niver (Copake), John C. Newman. 

1843. — P. H. Knickerbacker (Clermont), FJlbridge 
Simpson (Hudson), Lucas Pruyn (Kinderhook), S. 0. 

Vanderpoel (Kinderhook), • Moore, John P. Wheeler 

(Hudson), Charles R. Near (Germantown). 

Reorganized in 1863. — Joseph Bates, president. New 
Lebanon ; H. B. Salmon, vice-president, Stuyvesant Falls ; 
P. V. S. Pruyn, secretary, Kinderhook ; Wm. H. Pitcher, 
treasurer, Hudson. 

1865-66.— Dr. Atwood, William C. Bailey (Chatham), 
John C. Benham (Hudson), Elias W. Bostwick (Hudson), 
Joseph Dorr (Hillsdale), L. C. B. Graveline (Chatham), 
Lorenzo Gile (Canaan), S. M. Moore, 0. H. Peck (Chat- 
ham), G. P. Salmon (Lebanon and Hudson), D. F. Van 
Aiken (Stuyvesant), Abram Van Deusen (Claverack), R. 
H. Vedder (Chatham). 

1866-67.— Henry Lyle Smith (Hudson), George E. 
Bensen (Kinderhook and Hudson), Rensselaer Platner 
(Clermont), J. N. Schermerhorn (Stockport). 

1869.— J. K. Wardle (Hudson), Fowler, M. L. 

Bates (Canaan), E. B. Boioe (Valatie), J. Lockwood 
(Ghent and Philmont), P. W. Shufelt (East Taghkanio), 

C. E. Segar, P. B. Collier (Kinderhook). 

1872.— X. T. Bates (New Lebanon), N. H. Mesick 
(Glenco Mills), George Rossman (Ancram). 

1873. — Wm. O. Smith (Germantown), Joseph T. Lamb 
(Hudson), A. T. Losee (Germantown). 

1876.— Thomas Wilson (Claverack). 

1877.— Crawford E. Fritts (Hudson), J. H. Allen 

1878.— Charles E. Valkenburgh (Stuyvesant Falls). 

The following physicians have officiated as president of 
the society since its reorganization in 1863, viz. : 1863, 
Joseph Bates; 1864, H. B. Salmon; 1865, Wm. H. 
Pitcher; 1866, E. W. Bostwick; 1867, G. P. Salmon; 
1868, P. V. S. Pruyn ; 1869, H. Lyle Smith ; 1870, J. C. 
Benham; 1871, R. H. Vedder ; 1872, W. C. Bailey; 
1873-74, P. B. Collier ; 1875, L. M. Bates ; 1876, G. W. 
Rossman ; 1877, W. 0. Smith. 

The officers of 1877 were W. 0. Smith, president ; J. 
W. Lockwood, vice-president; Thomas Wilson, secretary 
and treasurer. 

William Wilson was the first president of the Columbia 
County Medical Society. He was also president of the 
State Medical Society during the year of 1812, — the fifth 
of its existence. He was a man of sound judgment and 
extensive knowledge, both in medicine and the collateral 
sciences. In 1814 he was elected a permanent member of 
the State Society. He also represented Columbia county in 
the State Legislature, and died in 1829, aged and re- 

John Milton Mann was one of those pioneers in medi- 
cine who left a name which time has yet failed to erase. 
From 1807 to the time of his death he held responsible 
positions in the State Medical Society, and was the first of 
the eleven who organized it. He was drowned in crossing 
the river on the ferry-boat, Aug. 24, 1809, aged forty-three 

Thomas Brodhead served in both the County and State 
Societies ; lie was given the honorary degree of Doctor of 
Medicine by the regents of the University in 1828. He 
practiced long in the county, and left an honorable record. 
He died in 1830, aged sixty-five. 

William Bay was another of the founders of the County 
Society. He was a man of fine education, studied medi- 
cine in New York city, and graduated in 1779 ; from this 
time to 1810 he practiced in Claverack, where he achieved 
an enviable reputiition. In 1810 he removed to Albany, 
where he became a leading physician ; he died in 1865, 
aged ninety-two, having practiced medicine for sixty-three 

Henry L. Van Dyck, another of the progenitors of the 
society, was born in Kinderhook. He was a hard worker for 
the society, and was honored and respected by all who wore 
associated with him. 

John Talman, of Hudson, was in the early days of the 
society one of the most popular physicians in the city. 
He was a skillful practitioner, and a man of very pleasing 
address, of fine form, and rare social qualities. 

Samuel White is remembered not simply as a successful 
practitioner for over half a century in the city of Hudson, 
but as the founder, also, of the asylum for the insane in the 
same city, and which was in successful operation for twenty- 
five years. Dr. White was one of Hudson's most popular 
physicians and surgeons, and was a hard-working man in 
the society at its organization. He had a very extensive 
practice, both medical and surgical, and in his day was 
probably the ablest surgeon in eastern New York. He was 
professor of surgery at the Berkshire Medical College, in 
Pittsfield, for many years. He was made an honorary 
member of the State Society in 1829, and in 1843 was 
elected its president. After a very active and honorable 
life, he died in 1845, aged sixty-eight. 

John McClellan figured largely in the medical aSiiirs of 
the county. He was a man of large experience and pos- 
sessed of good sense and judgment. He was honored with 
the degree of Doctor of Medicine by the regents of the 
University in 1831, and, after a long and eventful life, died 
Oct. 18, 1855, aged eighty-three. 


John Merriman came into the society about the year 
] 820. He was original in thought and bold in practice. 
He struggled hard to suppress quackery and advance the 
regularly-educated physician. He represented the county 
in the State Medical Society, and in 1841 was honored with 
the degree of Doctor of Medicine by the regents of the 
University. After a long and eventful life, filled with 
honors and successes, he died at a ripe old age. 

Dr. Robert G. Frary, of Hudson, was one of the bright- 
est lights of the Columbia County Medical Society, and his 
name and memory still live in the hearts of many through- 
out the county. 

He was the first licentiate before the censors of this 
society, receiving his license in 1815. He immediately 
joined the society, and up to the time of his death, in 1862, 
was a most active and honored member. Dr. Frary was a 
self-made man, and rose to eminent distinction in the pro- 
fes,sion. He was also the recipient of many public honors, 
and filled important offices in public life. He was made a 
permanent member of the State Society in 1836, in 1845 
was vice-president, and in 1851 was elected its president. 
He died Dec. 29, 1862, aged sixty-nine. 

So high was the regard of the citizens of Hudson for 
Dr. Frary's virtues, that they erected a costly monument to 
his memory. 

John Van Der Poel came into the society in 1822. He 
was active and earnest in the profession, and for many years 
a leading practitioner. His son. Dr. S. 0. Van Der Poel, 
the present health-officer of the port of New York, prac- 
ticed with his father in Valatie. 

Ebenezer Reed, of Speneertown, was a man of sterling 
worth, and a very successful physician. He joined the 
society in 1819, and died in 1871. 

Samuel Pomroy White was the eldest son of Dr. Samuel 
White. He was born in the city of Hudson, Nov. 8, 1801, 
graduated at Union College in the year 1822, and studied 
for his profession with his father, going through the regu- 
lar course of lectures at the medical college in New York 
city, under the late Valentine Mott, M.D. Although 
thoroughly familiar with all branches of his profession, he 
was especially devoted to surgery, and very early in his 
career performed some difficult operations with such skill 
and success as to attract the attention and gain the highest 
eulogiums from the must eminent members of the medical 

One operation alone, successfully performed by Dr. White 
when a young man, made him famous. The operation was 
the ligature of the internal iliac art«ry. The operation 
had never before been performed in America, and but 
thrice before in any country. This skillful and brilliant 
performance brought the young surgeon into fiivorable 
notice. He received from Williams College, soon after, 
the honorary degree of M.D., and was chosen to lecture 
before the medical college at Pittsfield on surgery and 
obstetrics. In the year 1833 Dr. White removed to the 
city of New York, where, until the time of his death, he 
continued in the successful practice of his profession, secur- 
ing the confidence and affections of his patients, and the 
liigh esteem and respect of the members of the medical 

In 1865 he read a paper before the Columbia County 
Medical Society on " The Salubrity of the Climate of Hud- 
son," in which his warm and abiding interest in the city of 
his birth is most clearly evinced. He died June 6, 1867, 
and among his private papers, after his death, was found a 
note requesting that he might be buried in Hudson, which 
request was fully complied with. 

George H. White was born in Hudson, Oct. 24, 1808. 
He was the youngest son of Dr. Samuel White, and was 
associated with his father in the management of the private 
insane asylum in the city of Hudson, and after the death 
of his father he conducted it alone for several years. 

Dr. George H. White possessed many of the distinguish- 
ing characteristics of his father and elder brother. 

His father, desiring that he should also pursue the pro- 
fession which he so ardently loved, gave him every advan- 
tage that would tend to fit him for a successful practitioner. 
He was a man of fine address, quiet and unobtrusive, 
and was honored and respected by all who knew him. He 
was a thorough physician and a skillful surgeon. His ad- 
vice was always deliberate, because it was mature and 
given with a clearness that none could either misconstrue 
or misapprehend. And in his operations he was remark- 
ably calm and collected. 

Among his earlier operations was the successful ligature 
of the subclavian artery, external to the scaleni muscles. 

Dr. White became a member of the county society in 
1830. and was a most active worker in it for twenty-five 

Ill health obliged him finally to seek the south, but, un- 
fortunately, without benefit, for after a six months' sojourn 
in New Orleans he returned to Hudson, and died April 1 1, 

John M. Pruyn, a worthy and active member of the 
society, lived in Kinderhook. He was made a permanent 
member of the State Society in 1849. 
He died February, 1866, aged sixty. 
Stephen G. Tallmadge possessed in a rare degree the 
qualities of the true physician. He occupied all the posi- 
tions of trust in the gift of the society. He died in 1 868, 
honored by all who knew him. 

Horatio and Eleazer Hoot, both of Chatham, were men 
of energy and thoroughly conversant with their profession, 
and to-day many mourn their death. 

William H. Pitcher was a representative man in an emi- 
nent degree, not only in the profession but also in the society 
in which he moved. He was born in Claverack, Oct. 26, 
1825. He graduated from the State Normal College at 
Albany, and on June 22, 1853, he graduated with honor 
at the medical college at Woodstock, Vt. He practiced at 
Claverack for three years, and then removed to Hudson. 
Dr. Pitcher was in all re.spects a self-made man ; he devel- 
oped his faculties to a wonderful degree, his intellectual 
attainments being solid and substantial rather than brilliant 
in their character. In his professional life he w;is marked 
by a cool and sound judgment. Bold and fearless in the 
use of remedies, he achieved triumphs that extended his 
practice over a larger field than most physicians occupy. 
As a surgeon he was thoroughly conservative, but he per- 
formed many capital operations. He wa.s an active mem- 


ber of the County Society, and represented it as a delegate 
to the State Society. On the 2od of May, 1872, while mak- 
ing a jwst-mortem examination, he received a wound, which 
was the direct cause of his death. He suffered the greatest 
agony for several days, and died June 1, 1872. And thus 
died one life, for many years, was identified with the 
city of Hudson, and whose name upon every tongue was as 
f;\miliar as household words. 

To the hearts and homes of hundreds he was endeared 
by many kindly acts and offices, while to all alike, the high, 
the low, the rich, and the poor, he was ever ready to exer- 
cise those rare abilities and attainments of which he was 
possessed. Lamentation for the loss of Dr. Pitcher extended 
over the whole county, and the citizens of Hudson mani- 
fested their regard for his virtues by erecting a beautiful 
monument to his memory. 


The practice of medicine after the school of Hahnemann 
was introduced into Columbia county in or about the year 
1840, by Dr. George W. Cook. Dr. Robert Rcssman also 
began the homoeopathic practice about the same time. Dr. 
A. P. Cook was an old-school physician in Chatham in 1835, 
and went to Kinderhook in 1839, and in 1842 began the 
practice of the new school, and in 1844 came to Hudson, 
where he is yet in practice. Drs. G. W. Cook and Ross- 
man were also of the old school, as was Dr. Stephen 
Coburn, in Ghent, who changed to homoeopathy in 1842. 
Edward L. Coburn began the practice also in Ghent in 

Homoeopathic medical societies were authorized to be 
formed by the act of April 13, 1857, and under that act the 


was organized Oct. 1, 1861, with the following officers : A. 
P. Cook, Hudson, president; T. T. Calkins, Coxsackie, 
vice-president; C. M. Samson, Hudson, secretary; P. W. 
Mull, Ghent, trea.surer; C. H. Stevens, Hudson, J. W. 
Smith, Jr., Claverack, James S. Philip, Kinderhook, cen- 
sors. A constitution was adopted, which provides that any 
regular licensed physician under the laws of the State, who 
avows his belief in the homoeopathic maxim similui stmili- 
hiis curantur, and conforms his practice thereto, may become 
a member of the society. Drs. Cook, Calkins, and Smith 
were the first delegates to the State Society. 

The presidents of the society have been as follows : A. 
P. Cook, 1862-64; T. T. Calkins, 1805-66; W. H. 
Barnes, 1866-67; P. W. Mull, 1867-69; W. H. Barnes, 
1869-70 ; H. B. Horton, 1870-71 ; T. T. Calkins, 1871- 
72; C. P. Cook, 1872-73; P. W. Mull, 1873-74; A. P. 
Cook, 1874-75 ; W. H. Barnes, 1875-76 ; P. W. Mull, 

The present officers are : President, P. W. Mull ; Vice- 
President, A. F. Mull ; Secretary, T. T. Calkins ; Treas- 
urer, W. H. Barnes ; Censors, J. S. Philip, 0. J. Peck, 
James Green. 

The members of the society have been and are as follows : 

1861.— A. P. Cook, T. T. Calkins, C. M. Samson, P. 
W. Mull, C. A. Stevens, J. W. Smith, Jr., Jas. S. Philip, 
Wright H. Barnes. 

1862.— E. Holly Hudson, J. F. Philip. 

1863.— L. B. Hawley. 

1865.— W. V. B. Blighton. 

I860.— S. E. Calkins. 

1867.— G. L. Barnes. 

1808.— C. P. Cook, W. M. Sprague, H. B. Horton, 

1809. — James Green, James H. Green. 

1870.— Oliver J. Peck, North Chatham; Dwight War- 
ren, Spencertown. 

1874. — N. H. Haviland, Spencertown ; A. F. Moore, 
Coxsackie ; David E. Collins. 

George W. Calkins, of Germantown, began the practice 
of medicine under the old school in 1836, and about 1857, 
or before, changed to the homoeopathic practice, and soon 
after moved into Wisconsin, and is now practicing near 
Janesville, in that State. He was a giaduate of the New 
York Medical College. 

was the first paper published in the county, and is now one 
of the oldest in the State. The first number was issued 
March 31, 1785, by Charles R. Webster and Ashbel Stod- 
dard, who had been apprentices together in the office of the 
Connecticut Courant, at Hartford. The size of the sheet 
was ten by fourteen inches. In typographical appearance 
it was quite equal to the publications of that day. The 
introductory of the "printers" is in the following words. 
It will be seen that they were profuse in the use of capital 
letters : 

" The Subscribers having established a PRINTIXG OFFICE in 
this flourishing CITY, think it necessary to remind its respectable 
Inhabitants of the many Advantages to the Public in general, and 
the City in particular, from the Publication of an impartial NEWS 
PAPER, conducted on truly republican Principles, and which shall 
ever be the WATCHFDLL CENTINEL of its Liberties. It shall 
suffice us to observe that every Rank and Station of Life must per- 
ceive its Advantages." 

The terms were " twelve shillings per annum. Each 
subscriber to pay Six Shillings on receiving the Fifth 
Number, at which time the Printers will obligate them- 
selves, in Case of any Failure on their part, through Neg- 
lect, to refund the Whole of the Subscription Money." 

Among the most important news items in the first num- 
ber is the following, under date of Albany, April 1 : " On 
Friday se'nnight two persons broke open the house of Mr. 
J. M. V. Wagoner, of Livingston Manor, and after beating 
him in a most cruel manner, robbed him of one hundred 
pounds iu specie and about seven hundred in bonds and 
other paper securreties. Mr. Wagoner is since dead, and 
the villains have been apprehended and committed to gaol 
in this City." 

Among the sensations, Philo Socius enters his " earnest 
protest against a dancing-school" that had been established 
in the city, as having a tendency to " send all the young 
people directly to perdition." 

From its columns we see that it required one week to 
get intelligence from Albany, two weeks from New York, 
and two months from Europe. 

At the commencement of the second volume Mr. Web- 



ster withdrew from the concern, and the paper was published 
by Mr. Stoddard alone until 1804, when it was merged in 
the Balance, published by Croswell, Sampson & Chittenden. 
On the 5th of January, 1792, the columns were elongated 
two inches, and a new German text head introduced, which 
was retained as long as Mr. Stoddard published it. In 
1803 the paper was enlarged by the addition of a column 
to each page, which made it of very respectable proportions 
for the period. 

In 1793 the office was burned out, but was soon re- 
placed by public subscription. This was the first fire which 
occurred in the city, and led to the organization of the first 
fire department. In 179G the " Printer" first styled him- 
self " The Editor." 

In March, 1824, a number of leading and public-spirited 
citizens — among them Oliver Wiswall, Solomon Wescott, 
David West, Austin Stocking, Abner Hammond, Samuel 
Anable, Jchoiakim A. A^an Valkenburgh, Rufus Reed, 
Moses Younglove, and Jeremiah H. Strong— raised a fund 
of some five hundred dollars, purchased the old printing 
material, and resuscitated the Gazette. On the 7th of Sep- 
tember, in that year, the first number of the new series 
was issued, with John W. Edmonds (then a young lawyer, 
and subsequently a judge of the Supreme Court) as editor, 
with a salary of three dollars jicr week, and Peter Sturtevant 
as publisher. In his salutatory, the editor thus defines the 
position of the paper : 

" It will maintain the doctrine that the minority ought 
in all cases to yield to the majority, and that the great 
object of the organization of a party is the advancement of 
principles and not men. It will support, with all its power, 
regular caucus nominations, convinced that hereby the man 
is obliged to yield to the principle, and firmly believing that 
no other than good can result from a cause which has placed 
such men as Jefi"erson and Madison at the head of our 
government, which has doomed the Adams Federalism to 
destruction, and which has preserved the triumph of correct 
principles for years." 

In a letter to the present editor from Judge lidmonds, 
written in 1868, reviewing the early history of the Gazette, 
he says, — 

" The paper grew in circulation and influence, and was 
greatly instrumental in working out, in the short space of 
four or five years, a political revolution in the county, so 
that ' Old Columbia,' which, for a century, had been uni- 
formly and inflexibly Federal, in 1829 elected Republican 
members of Assembly, in 1830 elected me to the Assem- 
bly by some seven hundred majority, and by a still larger 
majority assisted in sending me to the Senate at the election 
in 1831. 

" From that time on the county remained steady in the 
support of that party for several years, — how long you can 
tell better than I can. I can speak only of the time that 
I remained in the county ; for, when I left it in 1837, I, in 
a measure, lost sight of its politics, and as I write now from 
memory, I dare not speak beyond that time. 

" This, however, I can say, and that is, that the Gazette 
had very much to do in overthrowing the long-continued 
dominaticm of the Federal party in the county, and in 
establishing and maintaining an opposite ascendency. 

" Another thing I can say of the old Gazette : it was then, 
as now, fearless ; and so long as I knew anything about it, 
neither for ' fear, favor, aff'ection, or the hope of reward' 
would it publish anything which it did not honestly believe 
to be true and right. It was earnest in its politics, some 
people called it furious ; perhaps it was so, for it had the 
impulsiveness of youth about it in those days. It was often 
severe and sarcastic, and sometimes witty." 

In 1826, Hiram Wilbur became its publisher, and Mr. 
Edmonds dissolved his connection with the paper. In 1834 
it passed into the hands of P. Dean Carrique, who continued 
its publication until the year 1851, when it passed into 
other hands, and was continued without any stated pub- 
lisher until Sept. 7, 1857, when the establishment was 
purchased by M. Parker Williams, its present editor and 
proprietor. Under his management it has been twice en- 
lar'i-ed, and from time to time improved, until now it ranks 
among the first-class papere of the State. 

Throughout its varied career the Gazette has always sus- 
tained a high reputation among the newspapers of its time, 
and wielded a wide political influence. The first twenty 
volumes now have a place in the State library at Albany. 


is the oifspring of the Gazette. It was established May 26, 
1866, by Williams & Clark, having its birth in the demand 
created "by the growing interests of the city and county for 
an organ to creditably represent them. April 10, 1869, 
the interest of Mr. Clark was purchased by M. Parker 
Williams, who is now its editor and sole proprietor. The 
Register held a membership in the Associated Press from 
the commencement, which added greatly to its popularity, 
usefulness, and permanent establishment. Its distinctive 
feature is the advocacy of local enterprise and business 


now published by William Bryan, in the city of Hudson, 
was commenced in 1820 by Solomon Wilbur, under the 
name of the Columbia Republican, as a Democratic paper. 
In 1824 it was purchased by Ambrose L. Jordan, who 
changed its political character to that of the Whig party. 
Ii was published at different times by Ambrose L. and 
Allen Jordan, Charles F. Ames, and Samuel Curtiss from 
1824 to 1834, and by Lawrence Van Dyke from 1834 to 
1843, when it passed into the hands of P. Byron Barker, 
who, after continuing it one year, disposed of it to Messrs. 
Palen & Jordan, Barker remaining as its editor. In 1845 it 
was purchased by Messrs. Bryan & Moores, and Mr. Moores 
retired in 1851. In 1855 the paper became the organ of 
the Republican party of the county. For a year or two, about 
1835-36, it was issued under the name of the Columbia 
Republican and Hudson City Advertiser. In 1876 the 
Hudson Weekly Star was merged in the Republican. The 
Star was commenced in 1842, by J. R. S. Van Vliet, 
under the name of the Columbia Wasliingtonian, as an 
advocate of total abstinence. Van Vliet published it one 
year, and transferred it to Warren Stockwell, who, in 1847, 
sold the establishment to AlexaTider N. Webb. In 1850, 
Mr. Webb changed the name to the Hudson Weekly Star, 
and its character from that of a temperance advocate to 



that of a general newspaper. In 1873, Mr. Webb was 
succeeded by Louis Goeltz and H. N. Webb, who con- 
tinued the publication to May 1, 1876, when Mr. Webb 
sold his interest to Wm. Bryan, and the paper was merged 
in the Republican, and the combined journal issued as the 
Hmhon Re^mhlican, the name it now bears. Mr. Goeltz 
died in October, 1877, leaving Mr. Bryan the sole manager 
and editor, which position he still occupies. It is an eight- 
column folio, twenty-four by forty-two inches. From the 
Repuhlican office also is issued 


which was the first daily paper published in the county. It 
was begun in 1847, by Alexander N. Webb, as the Dalit/ 
Morning Star, but in 1848 changed its name to the Dailij 


The article on The Hudson Daily Star, p. 119, should read as 

follows : 


which nnder its former title of the Hudson Dailij Star was the first daily paper 
published in the county. It was begun in 1847, by Alexander N. Webb, as the 
Daily Morning Star, but in 1848 changed its name to the Daih/ Evening Star. 
However, its vesper appearances were brief, and at the end of two months it 
appeared as the Hudson Daily Star, a title which it bore until May, 1876, when 
it was changed to the Daily Republican. It has experienced as many or more 
changes in form as it has in name even, and it is now a seven-column folio, 
twenty-four by thirty-six inches. 

The Daily and Weekly Hepublican are Republican in politics, and their 
editorials are outspoken and fearless on all matters of public interest. The 
printing-house of the Republican is well equipped for book and job work, with 
power-presses and material for first-class work. 

editor brought commensurate succes.?. In 1864, when Van 
Vleck died, the office fell into the hands of J. R. Arrow - 
smith, and subsequently into those of Willard Pond, an 
erratic geniu(f, who pulled down the old sign and called his 
paper the Columbia County Advertiser. He considered its 
former name as lacking in dignity and character, and, strange 
to say, his subscribers, before a great while, passed a like 
judgment on its editor, and he passed away, to be heard of 
afterwards as a drummer, a preacher, and, finally, as the 
recorder in a New York paper of his own death by ship- 
wreck. He was succeeded by J. H. Woolhiser, who in due 
season gave way to Wm. B. Howland, who dropped the 
words " Columbia County" from the head of his paper, and 
sent it forth as The Advertiser. 

In May, 1875, it passed into the hands of the present 
owner, Charles W. Davis, and the old name, which had en- 
deared itself to the residents of the town and village, was 
again placed at the head of its columns. The change 

" took" at once, the circulation of the paper rapidly in- 
creased, and it now has more subscribers than ever before. 
The facilities of the office for book and job printing are un- 
excelled in the county. The Rough Notes is a four-page, 
twenty-four-column paper, and is issued on Saturday of each 


was established in 1862, at Chatham Four Corners, by 

Frank 0. Sayles, of South Adams, Mass., a gentleman of 

considerable literary and poetic talent. Mr. Sayles soon 

sold the paper to Delos Sutherland, a local printer, who 

continued the publication of it for several years, and in 

1868, or thereabouts, sold it to Charles B. Canfield. In 

1871, James H. Woolhiser became associated with Mr. 

rt„.,G„i,] :., :f„ '-•■ blication, remaining, however, only a year 

i latter became again sole publisher. In 

iam B. Howland, of Kinderhook, bought 

ill owns it. 

s a four-page, thirty-two-column paper, 
,ed, and devoted to the local and agricul- 
the locality. Its editorial staff is com- 
11 B. Howland, editor-in-chief, George T. 
,, agricultural editor, and Dr. Allen Cady, 
3, has charge of the veterinary department, 
swered, free of charge, all questions con- 
)f horses and other domestic animals, 
leading features are its full, fresh, and 
vs from almost every village in the upper 
y ; its substantial and valuable agricultural 
'eterinary column ; and its editorial review 
il news. 

irinting-house is amply fitted for first-class 
iug three fast presses, and an abundant 
id other material. 
i in journalism in Columbia county have 

removed from New London, Conn., to 

7, 1802, and was published by Charles 

when he sold the establishment to Samuel 

loved to New York. Mr. Clark remained 

Bee until 1821. It was the organ of that 

class who justmed the War of 1812, and numbered among 

its contributors Martin Van Buren, Benjamin F. Butler, 

John W. Edmonds, and others of equal talent and position. 

It next passed into the hands of John W. Dutcher, who 

changed its name to the Cohimhia Sentinel, and two years 

afterwards united it with the Columbia Republican. 

The appearance of the Bee in Hudson provoked from 
the Wasp, a small sheet less than a letter-sheet in size, is- 
sued from the office of Mr. Croswell, and edited by " Robert 
Rustiooat, Esq.," the following couplet, — 

" If, perchance, there come a Bee, 
A Wasp shall come as well as he." 

Mr. Holt removed his paper to Hudson (at the solicita- 
tion of the Republicans of that city) on account of becoming 
obnoxious to the sedition laws, under which Mr. Holt had 

« From the Columbia County Directory, 1871-72. 



ster withdrew from the concern, and the paper was published 
by Mr. Stoddard alone until 1 804, when it was merged in 
the Balance, published by Croswell, Sampson & Chittenden. 
On the 5th of January, 1792, the columns were elongated 
two inches, and a new German text head introduced, which 
■was retained as long as Mr. Stoddard published it. In 
1803 the paper was enlarged by the addition of a column 
to each page, which made it of very respectable proportions 
for the period. 

In 1793 the office was burned out, but was soon re- 
placed by public subscription. This was the first fire which 
occurred in the city, and led to the organization of the first 
fire department. In 1796 the " Printer' first styled him- 
self " The Editor." 

In March, 1824, a number of leading and public-spirited 
citizens — among them Oliver Wiswall, ' 
David West, Austin Stocking, Abner H 
Anable, Jchoiakim A. Van Valkenbur; 
Moses Younglove, and Jeremiah H. Stroi 
of some five hundred dollars, purchased 
material, and resuscitated the Gazette. C 
tembcr, in that year, the first number ( 
was issued, with John W. Edmonds (the 
and subsequently a judge of the Supreme 
with a salary of three dollars per week, and 
as publisher. In his salutatory, the editi 
position of the paper : 

" It will maintain the doctrine that tl 
in all cases to yield to the majority, ai 
object of the organization of a party is tl 
principles and not men. It will support, 
regular caucus nominations, convinced th; 
is obliged to yield to the principle, and fir 
no other than good can result from a cause 
such men as Jefierson and Madison at 
government, which has doomed the Ada 
destruction, and which has preserved the 
principles for years." 

In a letter to the present editor from 
written in 1868, reviewing the early histc 
he says, — 

" The paper grew in circulation and i 
greatly instrumental in working out, in the short space of 
four or five years, a political revolution in the county, so 
that ' Old Columbia,' wliich, for a century, had been uni- 
formly and inflexibly Federal, in 1829 elected Republican 
members of Assembly, in 1830 elected me to the Assem- 
bly by some seven hundred majority, and by a still larger 
majority assisted in sending me to the Senate at the election 
in 1831. 

" From that time on the county remained steady in the 
support of that party for several years, — how long you can 
tell better than I can. I can speak only of the time that 
I remained in the county ; for, when I left it in 1837, I, in 
a measure, lost sight of its politics, and as I write now from 
memory, I dare not speak beyond that time. 

" This, however, I can say, and that is, that the Gazette 
had very much to do in overthrowing the long-continued 
domination of the Federal party in the county, and in 
establishing and maintaining an opposite ascendency. 

" Another thing I can say of the old Gazette : it was then, 
as now, fearless ; and so long as I knew anything about it, 
neither for ' fear, flivor, affection, or the hope of reward' 
would it publish anything which it did not honestly believe 
to be true and right. It was earnest in its politics, some 
people called it furious ; perhaps it was so, for it had the 
impulsiveness of youth about it in those days. It was often 
severe and sarcastic, and sometimes witty." 

In 1826, Hiram Wilbur became its publisher, and Mr. 
Edmonds dissolved his connection with the paper. In 1834 
it passed into the hands of P. Dean Carrique, who continued 
its publication until the year 1851, when it passed into 
other hands, and was continued without any stated pub- 
lisher until Sept. 7, 1857, when the establishment was 
purchased by M. Parker Williams, its present editor and 

Allen Jordan, Charles F. Ames, and Samuel Curtiss from 
1824 to 1834, and by Lawrence Van Dyke from 1834 to 
1843, when it passed into the hands of P. Byron Barker, 
who, after continuing it one year, disposed of it to Messrs. 
Palen & Jordan, Barker remaining as its editor. In 1845 it 
was purchased by Messrs. Bi-yan & Moores, and Mr. Moores 
retired in 1851. In 1855 the paper became the organ of 
the Republican party of the county. For a year or two, about 
1835-36, it was issued under the name of the Columbia 
Repuhlican and Hudson City Advertiser. In 1876 the 
Hudson Weekly Star was merged in the Republican. The 
Star was commenced in 1842, by J. R. S. Van Vliet, 
under the name of the Columbia Washingtonian, as an 
advocate of total abstinence. Van Vliet published it one 
year, and transferred it to Warren Stockwell, who, in 1847, 
sold the establishment to Alexander N. Webb. In 1850, 
Mr. Webb changed the name to the Hudson Weekly Star, 
and its character from that of a temperance advocate to 



that of a general newspaper. In 1873, Mr. Webb was 
succeeded by Louis Goeltz and H. N. Webb, who con- 
tinued the publication to May 1, 1876, when Mr. Webb 
sold his interest to Wm. Bryan, and the paper was merged 
in the Republican, and the combined journal issued as the 
Ifudson Repuhlican, the name it now bears. Mr. Goeltz 
died in October, 1877, leaving Mr. Bryan the sole manager 
and editor, which position he still occupies. It is an eight- 
column folio, twenty-four by forty-two inches. From the 
EepiihUcan office also is issued 


which was the first daily paper published in the county. It 
was begun in 1847, by Alexander N. Webb, as the Daily 
Morning Star, but in 18-18 changed its name to the Daily 
Evening Star. However, its vesper appearances were 
brief, and at the end of two months it appeared as the Hud- 
son Daily Star, a title it has borne to the present time. It 
has experienced as many or more changes in form as it has 
in name even, and it is now a seven-column folio, twenty- 
four by thirty-six inches. 

The Repuhlican and Star are Republican in politics, and 
their editorials are outspoken and fearless on all matters of 
public interest. The printing-house of the Repuhlican is 
well equipped for book and job work, with power-presses 
and material for first-class work. 

a weekly newspaper, is published every Saturday, and, as a 
medium for advertising, is unequaled in the Second As- 
sembly district of Columbia county. It was first issued in 
1825, as the Kinderhook Sentinel, and was edited by Peter 
Van Schaack, a gentleman at that time quite prominent in 
political and literary circles. In 1832, Elias Pitts bought 
an interest ; the paper changed its name and became known 
as the Columhia Sentinel. Two years later John V. A. 
Hoes, a nephew of Martin Van Buren, became the propri- 
etor, and continued so until 183C, when he sold out to Mr. 
Van Schaack, its first owner, who continued in possession 
until 1854. In that year Peter H. Van Vleck became the 
owner, and the paper became widely known as The Kinder- 
hook Rough Notes, and the trenchant wit and humor of its 
editor brought commensurate success. In 1864, when Van 
Vleck died, the office fell into the hands of J. R. Arrow - 
smith, and subsequently into those of Willard Pond, an 
erratic geniu#, who pulled down the old sign and called his 
paper the Columhia County Advertiser. He considered its 
former name as lacking in dignity and character, and, strange 
to say, his subscribers, before a great while, passed a like 
judgment on its editor, and he passed away, to be heard of 
afterwards as a drummer, a preacher, and, finally, as the 
recorder in a New York paper of his own death by ship- 
wreck. He was succeeded by J. H. Woolhiser, who in due 
season gave way to Wm. B. Howland, who dropped the 
words " Columbia County" from the head of his paper, and 
sent it forth as The Advertiser. 

In May, 1875, it passed into the hands of the present 
owner, Charles W. Davis, and the old name, which had en- 
deared itself to the residents of the town and village, was 
again placed at the • head of its columns. The change 

" took" at once, the circulation of the paper rapidly in- 
creased, and it now has more subscribers than ever before. 
The facilities of the office for book and job printing are un- 
excelled in the county. The Rough Notes is a four-page, 
twenty -four-column paper, and is issued on Saturday of each 

was established in 1862, at Chatham Four Corners, by 
Frank O. Sayles, of South Adams, Mass., a gentleman of 
considerable literary and poetic talent. Mr. Sayles soon 
sold the paper to Delos Sutherland, a local printer, who 
continued the publication of it for several years, and in 
1868, or thereabouts, sold it to Charles B. Canfield. In 
1871, James H. Woolhiser became associated with Mr. 
Canfield in its publication, remaining, however, only a year 
or two, when the latter became again sole publisher. In 
June, 1875, William B. Howland, of Kinderhook, bought 
the paper, and still owns it. 

The Courier is a four-page, thirty-two-column paper, 
handsomely printed, and devoted to the local and agricul- 
tural interests of the locality. Its editorial staff is com- 
posed of William B. Howland, editor-in-chief, George T. 
Powell, of Ghent, agricultural editor, and Dr. Allen Cady, 
of Maiden Bridge, has charge of the veterinary department, 
in which are answered, free of charge, all questions con- 
cerning diseases of horses and other domestic animals. 

The Couriers leading features are its full, fresh, and 
readable local news from almost every village in the upper 
half of the county ; its substantial and valuable agricultural 
department ; its veterinary column ; and its editorial review 
of current general news. 

The Courier printing-house is amply fitted for first-class 
job-printing, having three fast presses, and an abundant 
supply of type and other material. 

Other ventures in journalism in Columbia county have 
been as follows :* 

The Bee was removed from New London, Conn., to 
Hudson, Aug. 17, 1802, and was published by Charles 
Holt until 1810, when he sold the establishment to Samuel 
W. Clark, aud moved to New York. Mr. Clark remained 
proprietor of the Bee until 1821. It was the organ of that 
class who justified the War of 1812, and numbered among 
its contributors Martin Van Buren, Benjamin F. Butler, 
John W. Edmonds, and others of equal talent and position. 
It next passed into the hands of John W. Dutcher, who 
changed its name to the Columhia Sentinel, and two years 
afterwards united it with the Columhia Repuhlican. 

The appearance of the Bee in Hudson provoked from 
the Wasp, a small sheet less than a letter-sheet in size, is- 
sued from the office of Mr. Croswell, and edited by " Robert 
Rusticoat, Esq.," the following couplet, — 

" If, perchance, there come a Bcc, 
A Wnnp shall come as well as he," 

Mr. Holt removed his paper to Hudson (at the solicita- 
tion of the Republicans of that city) on account of becoming 
obnoxious to the sedition laws, under which Mr. Holt had 

35 From the Columbia County Directory, 1S71-72. 


incurred both fine and imprisonment, which destroyed his 
business in New London. 


was commenced in 1801 or 1802, in quarto form, by Ezra 
Sampson, George Chittenden, and Harry Croswell, who 
first published it as a neutral paper ; but in less than a year 
it became the organ of the Federal party, the proprietors 
refunding to such of the subscribers as did not like the 
change their due proportion of the subscription money. In 
1808 it was removed to Albany, and was discontinued in 
1811. Mr. Sampson, familiarly known at that time as 
" Dominie Sampson," was a Presbyterian clergyman and a 
vigorous writer. Mr. Chittenden was a book-binder, and 
Mr. Croswell a printer. 

The Wasp was contemporary with the Bee, and, judging 
from the personal abuse which filled its columns and those 
of the Bee, the oflice of each was to return sting for sting. 
It was edited for a short time only, in the early part of this 
century, by " Robert Rusticoat." 

The Hudson Newspaper and Balance Advertiser was 
commenced in October, 1806, by Harry Croswell. 

The Republican Fountain, founded in December, 1806, 
was published in the interest of the Lewis branch of the 
Democratic party about one year. It was discontinued 
after the election, which resulted in the defeat of Mr. 

The Northern Whig was begun in 1808, by W. B. Steb- 
bins, upon the removal of the Balance to Albany. He 
continued it two or three years, and was succeeded by Wm. 
L. Stone, who continued it until 1816, when it passed into 
the hands of Richard L. Corss, and subsequently, in 1821, 
into those of Wm. B. Stebbins, son of the original proprie- 
tor, who continued it until 1824, when it was discontinued. 
It was one of the strongest Federal papers in the State. 

The Columbia Magazine was published at Hudson, at 
an early date, by the Rev. John Chester. 

The Spirit of the Forum and Hudson Remarker was 
published in 1817, as a literary paper, by an association of 

The Messenger of Peace was started at Hudson, in 182-t, 
by Richard Carrique, and continued one year. 

The Rural Repository, a semi-monthly literary paper, in 
quarto, was begun, in 1824, by Wm. B. Stoddard, son of 
Aslibcl Stoddard, the. first printer in Hudson. It was dis- 
continued in 1851.* During the twenty-seven years of its 
existence its able and judicious management secured for it 
a large and appreciative list of subscribers, who early 
learned to value and welcome its regular visits, and who 
deeply deplored its loss. 

The Columbia and Greene County Envoy was begun, 
in 1831, by Edward G. Linsley, and continued two years. 

The Diamond, semi-monthly, was published, in 1833, 
by George F. Stone, at Hudson. 

The Magnolia, also semi-monthly, was published at 
Hud.son, in 1834, by P. Dean Carrique. 

The Hudson Flail was published during the campaign 

* The first number was issued Saturday, May 29, 1824, and the last, 
Saturday, Oct. 4, 1851. 

of 1840, as a " Tippecanoe" paper, by J. R. S. Van Vliet, 
and its complement was The Thrasher, published during 
the same campaign. 

The Columbia Democrat was commenced at Chatham 
Four Corners, in 1847. 

The Temperance Palladium was published at Hudson, 
in 1851, by John W. Dutcher. 

The Hudson Daily News was published, in 1855, by 
Richard Van Antwerp. 

The Valatie Weekly Times was published, in 1853, by 
H. N. Hopkins. 

The Equal Rights Advocate was begun at Chatham Four 
Corners, in the spring of 1846, by an anti-rent association. 
In 1848 it was removed to Hudson, and changed to TVte 
Democratic Freeman, under which name it was published 
by Charles H. Collins. It was discontinued in 1855-56. 

The Columbia County Journal was published at Chat- 
ham Four Corners, in 1850, by Philip H. Ostrander. 

The Chatham Courier was established in 1862, and has 
since been published at that point. 

The Chatham Press had its first issue April 11, 1877. 
It was published a year by Burrows & Woolhiser, and then 

The American Repository, a paper supporting Millard 
Fillmore for the presidency, in 1856, was begun in that 
year, but discontinued shortly after the election. Its editor, 
R. Van Antwerp, also commenced a daily, which was pub- 
lished two months, a short time before the introduction of 
the Repository. 

The Columbia County Family Journal, a semi-monthly 
literary paper, was begun in 1861, by F. H. Webb, but 
discontinued after six months' issue. 

The Columbia Farmer was a late as well as brief venture, 
having been begun and completed during the past two 
years, in Hudson. 

The Journal of Materia Medica was begun in New 
Lebanon, in 1857, by Henry A. Tilden, and its publication 
is continued by Tilden & Co., with Joseph Bates, M.D., as 



Prior to the Revolution no general system of education 
was established. All schools in existence previously were 
private schools, or were fostered by special legislation. 
The necessity and importance of common schools had not 
been recognized, and education was confined to the wealth- 
ier classes. At the first meeting of the State Legislature, 
in the year 1787, Governor Clinton called the attention of 
that body to the subject of education, and a law was passed 
providing for the appointment of regents of the university. 
In 1789 an apportionment of public lands was made for 
gospel and school purposes. In 1793 the regents were 
authorized to report a general system of common schools, 
and in 1795 Governor Clinton strongly recommended the 
same, and urged its adoption by the Legislature. On 
April 9 of that year a law was passed " for the purpose of 



encouraging and maintaining schools in the several cities 
and towns in the State, in which the children of the in- 
habitants of the State shall be instructed in the English 
language, or be taught English grammar, arithmetic, math- 
ematics, and such other branches of knowledge as are most 
useful and necessary to complete a good English educa- 
tion." By this act the sum of 20,000 pounds (New York 
currency), or $50,000, was appropriated annually for five 
years for the support of schools. Under the law of 1795, 
counties were required to raise at least half as much as 
was received f.-om the State, and the public money was to 
be divided according to the number of days of school 
taught. In 1798 there were 1352 schools organized, and 
59,660 children taught in them. No further legislation 
was had, except for additions to the school fund, until 
1811, when five commissioners were appointed to report a 
complete system for the organization and establishment of 
common schools. The commissioners reported a bill, which 
became a law in 1812, by which the sum of $50,000 was 
to be distributed annually among the counties, the boards 
of supervisors being required to raise an equal amount, the 
whole to be distributed among the towns and districts. 
Three commissioners in each town were provided for to 
superintend schools and examine teachers, and three in- 
spectors in each district were to engage teachers and other- 
wise provide for the local necessities of the schools, the 
whole system to be placed under a State superintendent. 
Gideon Hawley was the first superintendent, and held the 
position until 1821, when the office was abolished, and the 
secretary of state charged with the performance of the 
duties pertaining to it. Mr. Hawley, by his efibrts, con- 
tributed largely to the advancement of the school system. 
After the abolition of the office of superintendent, the 
duties of the office could not be properly or promptly per- 
formed by the secretary of state, owing to the press of his 
other duties, and governors every succeeding year urged 
upon the Legislature the necessity of a better system of 
schools, and of laws to correct obvious defects in existing 
laws. In 1835 departments of teachers were established 
in eight academies, one in each senatorial district. In 
1838 the district library system was established by law, by 
a tax levy of twenty dollars on the taxable property in the 
district, and ten dollars annually thereafter, which law was 
modified in 1851, making it discretionary with the super- 
visor of the town to levy the tax. In 1838 $55,000 was 
appropriated by the State for libraries, and counties and 
towns were required to raise an equal amount for the same 

In 1841 the office of deputy superintendent of schools 
for counties was created. In 1843 the board of town in- 
spectors and commissioners of schools was abolished and 
the office of town superintendent substituted. On May 7, 
1844, the State normal school was provided for, and opened 
at Albany in December following. Nov. 13, 1847, the 
Legislature abolished the office of county superintendent, 
against the earnest protest of many of the best friends of 
education in the State. During this session teachers' insti- 
tutes, which had existed for several years as voluntary 
associations, were legally established. March 2G, 1849, 
free schools were established throughout the State, rate-bills 

abolished, and a tax on property for the entire expense of 
the schools provided. This law was submitted to the 
people, and ratified by a vote of three to one. But the 
taxes levied under the law being unequal, the law became 
distasteful, and remonstrances poured into the next Legis- 
lature against its continuance, and in 1850 it was again 
submitted to the people and again sustained, though by a 
decreased majority. In 1851 the free-school act was re- 
pealed, and the rate-bill again substituted. At the time of 
the repeal the sum of $800,000 was provided for annual 
distribution by a State tax, which in many districts practi- 
cally made free schools. Afterwards this sum was replaced 
by an annual tax of three-fourths of a mill on all property 
in the State, making an increase in the aggregate and in- 
creasing with the wealth of the State. In 1853 the act for 
union free schools was passed, and in 1854 the office of 
superintendent of public instruction* was created. On 
April 13, 1855, a law was passed providing for the designa- 
tion by the regents of the university of certain academies 
wherein teachers' classes might be instructed free, the State 
allowing ten dollars for each pupil, not exceeding twenty 
in each academy. April 12, 1856, the office of school com- 
missioner for counties was created, and that of town super- 
intendent abolished. 

In 1867 the rate-bill was again abolished and the schools 
supported entirely by a tax on property, the doors of the 
school-houses being thrown wide open to all, of every shade 
of color, political or religious opinion, and of every condi- 
tion in life. 

The permanent school fund of the State was derived 
chiefly as follows : 

1799.— Seven-eighths of four lotteries of $100,000, aggre- 
gate $87,500 

1801.— One-half of lotteries for $100,000 50,000 

1805.— Proceeds of 500,000 acres of land sold ; stock sub- 
scribed in Merchants' Bank, and increased in 1807 
and ISOS. 
1816. — One-half proceeds of Crumhorn mountain tract of 

69«i acres, amounting to 5,208 

1819.— One-half of arrears of quit-rents 2G,C90 

An exchange of securities between general and 
common school fund, by which the school fund 

gained 161,611 

Proceeds of escheated lands given. 
1822. — By constitution, all public lands amounting to 
991,659 acres were given to the school fund. 

1827.— Balance of loan of 1786 33,616 

Bank stock owned by the State 100,000 

Cnnal stock owned by the State 150,000 

1S3S.— From the revenue of the United States deposit fund 

annually 110,000 

And an additional sum from same fund for libraries 55,000 

The sum of $25,000 from the revenue of the United 
States deposit fund is annually added to the common- 
school fund, and the capital of this fund is declared by the 
constitution to be inviolate. 

In the ancient documents, which contain most of the 
obtainable colonial history of the territory now comprised in 
Columbia county, the earliest reference to schools or educa- 
tional matters is found in a declaration concerning some 
church affairs, signed by four residents of Kiuderhook, and 
dated Nov. 30, 1702, in which they allude to a man named 
Paulus Van Vleck, who " was accepted as precentor and 

* Michigan had the first office of this name in the United States. 


schoolmaster of our church," and also mentioning Joghem 
Lammersen and Hendrick Abelsen as having been his pre- 
decessors ill those offices. This seems to establish the fact 
that among the Dutch pioneers, who settled the north- 
western and central parts of the county, the school was but 
an adjunct of the church, and the probability that in their 
communities the two institutions were coeval. And it is 
also probable that, beyond the mysteries of the alphabet and 
spelling-book, the instruction imparted by the church 
" schoolmaster" was chiefly religious in its nature,* corre- 
sponding to the " catechising" system which was in use for 
more than two centuries among the New England Puritans 
and their descendants. 

In the southern part of the county, among the Palatine 
settlers, schools were also established at a very early date. 
There, however, we find no mention of the separate office 
of " precentor and schoolmaster," but the schools appear to 
Iiave been under the sole charge of the minister. The first 
school opened, and school-house built, in that settlement is 
supposed to have been in the year 1711 ; the supposition 
being confirmed by an old receipt, still in existence among 
the colonial documents in the office of the secretary of state, 
of which the following is a copy : 

"Jan. IS, 1711. 
" I acknowledge to have received of Robert Livingston 40 Boards 
for ye school-house in palatcyn town, called Queensbury, and desire 
said Livingston to send for ye s"d use 30 Boards now to Compleat ye 


' JoH. Fn. IIakger, Min." 

At a later date, a certain tract of land was set apart for 
the use of " the Palatine minister," but upon the condition 
that "he shall likewise teach a school." At Linlithgo, in 
the manor of Livingston, a school of some sort was taught, 
under the encouragement of the lord of the manor, as early 
as 1722. The above general fticts comprehend about all 
that is now known of the schools of this section during the 
century that succeeded its first settlement. 

On the 27th of March, 1791, a special act was passed 
authorizing " the building of a school-house and the main- 
taining of a schoolmaster" in the town of Clermont, out of 
" the monies arising from excise and other sources, in the 
hands of the overseers of the poor, but not needed for sup- 
port of the poor," and Robert R. Livingston, Samuel Ten 
Broeck, John Cooper, William Wilson, Marks Blatner, and 
George Best were authorized to carry out the provisions of 
the act. 

The first public school moneys were distributed to the 
towns of Columbia in 1795, under the act of April 9 of that 
year, and amounted to £1372 12s. M. (83431.56). The 
first school tax was raised that year, the amount being that 
required by the afor&said act, viz., one-half the amount 
received from the State, $1715.78. In 1798, the amount 

« Dominie Schaets, who became the minister at Rensselaerswyck, at 
a salary of 800 guilders, was, by the terms of his agreement, not only 
to attend to his regular pastoral duties, but " to teach also the Cate- 
chism there, and instruct the peoj>Ic in the Holy Scriptures, and lo 
pay attention to the office of schoolmaster for old and young." 
Whether he performed these offices at Kinderhflok and Claverack is 
not known, though it is quite certain that the Albany ministers 
preached at stated intervals to both those churches for a considerable 
time after their formation. 

to be raised was an amount equal to that received from the 
State, being $1412.12. In 1830, a committee of the board 
of supervisors recommended the payment of twenty-five 
cents to school inspectors for each examination of teachers, 
and fifty cents per visit to the schools, and thought that a 
liberal compensation, and that no more than two visits per 
day should be paid for. 

From 1795 to the present time there has been received 
from the State for distribution to the several towns for the 
support of .schools the sum of $465,700, and during the 
same period there has been raised by taxes on the property 
in the county, for the same purpose, the sum of $584,500."!" 

At the present time, all of the county, excepting the city 
of Hudson, is divided for school purposes into two districts, 
each under charge of a school commissioner. These are 
known as commissioner districts, numbers one and two, and 
are composed as follows : 

District No. 1 embraces the towns of Ancram, Claverack, 
Clermont, Copake, Gallatin, Germantown, Greenport, Liv- 
ingston, and Taghkanic. 

District No. 2 includes the towns of Austerlifz, Canaan, 
Chatham, Ghent, Hillsdale, Kinderhook, New Lebanon, 
Stuyvesant, and Stockport. 

The city of Hudson forms a third subdivision, and the 
commissioners of each of the three report independently. 
From the latest (June 30, 1877) reports of these commis- 
sioners are taken the following statistics relative to the 
schools of the county, viz. : 

The whole number of school districts in the county was ISO 
Of which the number of union free-school districts 

was .3 

The whole number of school-houses was, frame, 164; 

brick, 13; stone, 8; total 185 

"Whole number of licensed teachers employed at the 

same time for a period of twenty-eight weeks or 

more during the preceding year 21G 

Whole num\)cr of children of school age 16,013 

Total average daily attendance 4SS3,219 

Total amount of public school money apportioned to 

districts in the county for preceding year $31,783.09 

Total raised by tax for schools for same time §54,031.71 

Total amount paid for teachers' wages in same time $83,821.02 

Total number volumes in district libraries 8965 

Total value of same $3390 

Total value school-houses and sites $142,488.00 

There were at the same time within the county twenty- 
one private schools (not including incorporated seminaries), 
having a total attendance of about two hundred and sixty 

Seminaries and private schools have from early times 
been numerous, generally excellent, and well supported in 
Columbia county. The first of these institutions was the 
Washington Academy, established at Claverack in 1777,' 
by Rev. Dr. Gebhard, pastor of the Reformed church. 
This and others of its kind are mentioned more in detail 
in the histories of the respective towns and city in which 
they are or have been located. 

Earnest religious feeling was a marked characteristic of 
the early Dutch immigrants. With them settlement and 
religious organization were usually almost simultaneous. 
Wherever they made their homes in the new western land 

t These figures are approximate only, 
amount probably, the exact amounts in s 

I are under the real 
years not being ob- 



there they hastened to set up Grod's altar, and made His 
service their first duty and chief delight. 

That the sober Hollanders who first settled this portion 
of Albany county were different in this respect from the 
other Dutch settlers of the valley of the Hudson, there is 
DO reason to believe; though we find that in the year 1677 
the Dutch church at the town of Albany felt called upon 
to denounce " the shameful violation of the Sabbath, espe- 
cially that committed by the inhabitants of Kinderhook," 
and to petition the council that measures might at once be 
taken to bring the oifenders to speedy and severe punish- 
ment. What action, if any, was taken by the council in 
the matter does not appear. 

For lack of any further evidence of record concerning 
the religious condition of the people of Kinderhook or its 
vicinity during the succeeding quarter of a century, we 
pass to certain entries in the minutes of the colonial council, 
as follows : 

"Order in Councill, Nor. 12, 1702. 

"His Excellency in Councill being informed that one Paulus Van 
Vleck halh lately wandered about the country preaching, notwith- 
standing he hath been formerly forbid by his Excellency to do the 
same, and is lately called by some of the Inhabitants of Kinderhook 
to be their Clark without any License from his Excellency for so 
doing, It is hereby ordered that the high Sheriff of the county of 
Albany do take care to send the s"d Van Vleck down by the lirst 
opportunity to answer for his contempt before this board." 

This order brought out the following declaration, made 
by certain people of Kinderhook in Van Vleck's favor : 

"Kinderhook, the 30th Novemb., Anno Domine 1702. 
"In the first year of the Reign of her Majesty Anne, Queen of 
England, Scotland, Ireland, and France, Defender of the Faith, We, 
the undersigned inhabitants of Kinderhook patent, acknowledge and 
Declare that Paulus van VIcg during the whole of the time that he 
hath resided here, and since he was accepted as Precentor and school- 
master of our Church, hath truly comported himself to the Great 
content of our congregation, and that in all the time he was forbid 
to preach he hath never preached in house or barn or in any place in 
Kinderhook, but that he performed the office of Precentor as one 
Hendrick Abelsen before his death hath done in Kinderhook ; We 
have received said Paulus Van Vleg because one Jogheni Lamersen 
(who was our Precentor here) hath resigned the precentorship, and 
frequently complained that he could not perform its duties any 
longer. We further declare that the above-named Paulus van Vleg 
never took away the key of our church, but that we brought it to 

in his hou 


'coenraet borghghrdt. 
'Abram van Alstyn. 


For their impertinence the above signers were summoned 
to appear and answer before the governor and council in 
New York. Whereupon one of them, Coenraet Borgli- 
ghrdt, addressed a petition to the governor, humbly beg- 

"Your Excell'y favor to Refer the Case till the Spring of the 
year by Reason of the Could Winter and Ilconveniencys to my Great 
Damage of my family ; or If Your Excell. Would be Pleased to Referr 
the Case to be Decided by any .Justice or Justices of the Peace In 
Our County whom your Lordship shall Please to apoint, which favour 
the Knowledge of y'r Excellency's honour and Justice gives me no 
Reason to Doubt of, and your Petitioner as in Duty bound shall 
always pray." 

This petition was " Read in Councill and Rejected," 2Sth 
January, 1703 ; and upon a second and peremptory summons, 

the guilty four were, notwithstanding " the Could Winter 
and the Great Damage," compelled to journey to New York, 
where, as we learn from the minutes of the council, March 
11, 1702, "John van Alen, Coenraedt Borghghrdt, Abra- 
ham van Alstyn, and Lammert Jansen appeared before 
this Board this day in obedience to an order of Councill, 
and they acknowledging their error and submitting tliem- 
selves thereon, were discharged with a caution to be more 
carefull for the future ;" and there is little doubt that they 
gave heed to the ofiicial admonition. 

From the above it appears evident that in those days of 
the colony of New York, church and state were united, — 
at least to such extent as made the fiat of the governor as 
supreme in religious, as in secular matters. It also appears 
probable, almost to a certainty, that in the year 1677 there 
was no religious organization at Kinderhook ; but it is 
shown conclusively that in 1702 there was both a church 
and a church edifice there, and that it had had at least two 
precentors before the proscribed Van Vleck took the office. 
It can therefore be said with confidence that the first relig- 
ious organization in what is now Columbia county was that 
of the Reformed Dutch church at Kinderhook, and that 
this was formed between the yeare 1677 and 1700. 

For the date of the establishment of the Reformed 
church at Claverack we depend entirely on tradition, which 
tells us that it was formed but little later than that at Kin- 
derhook ; but, as we know that for a number of years their 
only dependence for preaching was upon the occasional 
services of the minister of the church at Albany, it seems 
most likely that upon the occasions of his visits the people 
of both Kinderhook and Claverack worshiped together at 
the former place (the distance from Claverack not being 
great), and that they continued to do for a considerable 
time after the first organization. The Revs. Van Driessen, 
Lydius, and Dellius were ministers of the Albany church 
who preached the word to the people here in the days when 
they were poor and feeble. 

The Reformed church at Linlithgo, in Livingston manor, 
was formed about 1721, through the efibrts of Robert Liv- 
ingston, who built the church edifice from his own means. 
The first services in it were held by Dominie Petrus Van 
Driessen, of the Albany church, probably on one of his 
visiting tours to the preaching stations at Kinderhook and 

The formation of the Dutch church at Germantown, or 
East Camp, took place in 1728, under Rev. Johannes Van 
Driessen, who assumed its pastoral duties in connection 
with those of the churches at Claverack, Kinderhook, and 
Linlithgo. The four church formations above mentioned 
were the beginnings of Reformed worship (the oldest of the 
denominations) in the county. 

Next after the Reformed came the Lutheran form of 
worship, which was held among the Palatines at the East 
Camp immediately after their arrival there. This, how- 
ever, could hardly be termed a regular church organization. 
It did not prove permanent, and there was probably no 
church building ever erected for its worshipers. Their 
minister in 1711 appears to have been John Frederick 
Haeger, as there are documents still in existence at Albany 
bearing that date, and his signature as minister at the East 



Camp. What does not appear quite intelligible, however, 
is the fact that this same clergyman is found a few years 
later heading a petition for the building of a house to be 
used for worship according to the forms of the Church of 

A Lutheran church was established at Churchtown (in 
Claverack) before 1750, one on Livingston manor in 1764, 
and one in Ghent before the Revolution. The church at 
Kinderhook was fonned about 1825. 

The disagreements between the Reformed and Lutheran 
churches were very bitter in the town of Albany;* but it 
does not appear that they ever extended to this part of the 

On the 31st of October, 1817, there was held at Church- 
town, in Claverack, a " Celebration of the Centurial Day 
of the Reformation," at which there was a vast concourse 
of people, embracing clergymen of all the denominations 
in the county, who vied with each other in exhibitions and 
expressions of kindly and fraternal feeling. Of this the 
Northern Whig of November 11 said, " The clergy, in their 
own example, manifested to a large company, composed of 
gentlemen from the city of Hudson and the neighboring 
towns, who dined with them, that religious tolerance and 
the absence of prejudice which ought to characterize the 
society of good men, inasmuch as they are all heirs of the 
same kingdom of the common Father in Heaven." 

The Church of England was first established in the colony 
of New York in 1686, Bishop Compton being at that time 
authorized " to exercise all ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the 
Plantations," including the licensing of schoolmasters com- 
ing hither from England ; and the bishop's power was ex- 
pressly declared in colonial instructions. The earliest ref- 
erence to Episcopalian worship within the territory now 
Columbia county is found in one of the Palatine documents. 
It is " The humble petition of John Frederick Haeger, 
clerk, John Cast, and Godfrey De Wolven, on behalf of 
themselves and upwards of sixty families of Palatines in 
Dutchessf county," and dated Oct. 8, 1715. After reciting 
that they had always attended divine service as decently as 
possible, but with great difficulty, for lack of a convenient 
place to shelter them from the inclemency of the weather, 
that they held themselves bound to continue on the Palatine 
tract, and that nothing could contribute so much to render 
that settlement comfortable to the petitioners as a place of 
public worship, they proceeded as follows : 

"Your petitioners humbly Pray that yo'r Excellency will grant 
them Your License for building a church in Kingsberry, of si.\ty feet 
in length and forty feet in width, to perform Divine Service according 
to the Liturgy and Rites of the Church of England, as by Law Es- 
tablished, and also to grant your Petitioners the Liberty to Crave the 
favor and Charity of well-disposed People for such aid and assistance 
as may enable them to Erect such a Place for Divine Service in the 

* Among the old documents at Albany is a pass or order made by 
Governor Andros, dated Nov. 6, 1674, which reads as follows : 

" Perroitt and Suffer the Bearer hereof, Doinine Bernardus Arsen- 
ius, to Passe from hence [N. Y.] to Albany, with his Necessarys, in 
the Sloope whereof Clacs Tysen is master, and to Officiate there as 
Pastor of the Augustine or Lutheran congregation as formerly under 
the English Govt., without any manner of Lett, hindrance, or raoles- 
tacion whatsoever." 

t East Camp was then a part of Dutchess, not being ceded to 
Albany county until 1717. 

manner aforesaid, which will remain a Monument of yo'r Piety, and 
where yo'r Petitioners will in their joint Publick as in their Private 
Prayers as in Duty bound ever Pray for yo'r Excellency's prosperity. 
(Signed) " John Fr. Haeger." 

The petition, which was made on behalf of the remaining 
remnant of the Palatines, after the main body of them had 
migrated to the " Schoharie country," leads to the belief 
that, after their departure, these had abandoned their origi- 
nal Lutheran worship and (for some unknown cause) adopted 
that of the Established church ; and it is also noticeable that 
Mr. Haeger, who had been their minister in 1711, was still 
their leader under the new form of worship which they had 

Beyond the fact that the prayer of the petitioners was 
granted there is nothing to show what was its result, 
whether or not the church building was erected, how regu- 
larly and successfully they sustained that form of worship, 
or how long it continued to be observed by them. 

During a period of eighty years from that time there ap- 
pears to have been no other Episcopalian organization here, 
the next being the church which was formed at Hudson in 
1795, and which for many years was the only one of the 
denomination in the county. This, as well as those of sub- 
sequent organization, are elsewhere noticed. 

Presbyterian-Congregational worship was regularly estab- 
lished before the Revolution, its principal seat being in those 
eastern towns of the county which were largely settled 
by people from Massachusetts and other New England 
States. A Congregational church (now the " Church in 
Christ") was formed at New Concord not far from 1770 ; a 
Presbyterian church at Spencertown about 1761. A Con- 
gregational and Presbyterian church commenced worship in 
a log building in New Lebanon about 1772, and one in 
Chatham about the same time. A Congregational church 
was formed in Austerlitz about 1792. The Presbyterian 
church at Hudson was organized about 1790 ; that in Ca- 
naan commenced in 1829 ; that at Hillsdale about 1830 ; 
and one was organized at Valatie in 1833. 

There were Baptist organizations both in New Lebanon 
and Canaan as early as 1776. That in New Lebanon was 
ministered to by the Rev. Joseph Meacham, who was per- 
haps the earliest preacher of that persuasion who labored 
within the present limits of the county. The Canaan 
church met at Flat Brook, but its duration was not long. 
Another organization was effected in the same town in 1793, 
and has continued until the present time. A Baptist or- 
ganization was had at Hillsdale about 1787. The West 
Hillsdale Baptist church was organized at Craryville in 
1803, and ten years later regular services by this denomi- 
nation were commenced in East Chatham. 

It is not easy to say at what date meetings for worship 
were first held in this county by the Methodists. The Rev. 
Freeborn Garretson, who married a daughter of Judge 
Livingston, of Clermont, commenced as an itinerant Meth- 
odist preacher in 1775, and was, in 1788, appointed pre- 
siding elder of all circuits from New Rochelle to Lake 
Champlain ; and, as his residence was at Rhinebeck, almost 
upon the border of this county, there can be little doubt 
that as early as the years of the Revolutionary war he 
performed missionary work here, as there were certainly 


Methodist people in several of the eastern towns of the 
county from the time of their first settlement. The first 
Methodist church organization in the county was at Hud- 
son, in 1790. Other churches of the denomination were 
formed in Chatham and at Red Rock in Canaan in the year 
1800, a second in Canaan was organized in 1804, and one 
in Hillsdale in 1807, by Rev. William Swayze. From those 
days the church within the county has increased to its 
present prosperous and flourishing condition. 

The first Friends' meeting in the county was formed at 
Rayville, about the year 1777, and soon after numbered 
about forty members. The meeting at Hudson was estab- 
lished immediately upon the arrival of the New England 
settlers there, in 178-1. In Ghent, the Friends were organ- 
ized through the efforts of Thomas Scattergood, of Phila- 
delphia, who first held open-air meetings there in 1793. 
The sect is now much less numerous in the county than in 
former years. 

The Universalist society in Hudson was formed in 1817. 
It is large and prosperous, but is the only one of the de- 
nomination in the county. 

A society of the " Christian Church" was organized in 
Canaan in 1829, and a second at Clermont in 1833. That 
which is located in Austerlitz was organized about 1851. 

Roman Catholic worship was commenced in Chatham in 
or about the year 1855. There are now seven other 
churches of this religion in the county, but all of a recent 
date of organization. 

In the above brief mention of the different religious 
denominations we have aimed at but little more than to 
give the dates of their respective beginnings within the 
limits of Columbia county. The different churches of each 
denomination will be found specially mentioned in the 
histories of the towns in which they are located, and an 
extended account of the Shaker community is given in the 
history of the town of New Lebanon. 

The following statistics of the different churches in 
Columbia county are taken from the New York State cen- 
sus of 1875. Their absolute accuracy cannot be vouched 
for, though they are undoubtedly very nearly correct: 








African M. E. Zion 































Ev. Lutlieran 

Friends (Hicksite) 

Friends (Orthodox) 

Methodist Episcopal 


Protestant Episcopal 

Roman Catholic 





« The statistics of the Reformed church in this county are not 
given in the census of 1875. Wc have therefore collected the ahove 
figures with care from other sources, and believe them to bo correct. 
The item of value of church edifices and sites is intended to cover 
the value of all other real estate owned by the Reformed church. 

This is an association composed of nearly all the Sabbath- 
schools in the county, working auxiliary to the New York 
State Sunday-school Association; and to its aid come the town 
Sunday-school Associations, although these town associations 
are not in as perfect working order as they should be. The 
results of the work will show more favorably as the town 
organizations become more perfect. After a few years of 
suspension of work this a.ssociation again sprang into life 
in the spring of 1869, when a convention was held at 
Hudson, presided over by Rev. G. W. Warner, of Canaan, 
an earnest Sabbath-school worker, whose heart was then 
and is now in the work. Since that time conventions have 
been held regularly annually, and some years semi-annually, 
with no lack of interest, but continually increasing earnest- 

The following table shows the list of conventions which 
have been held since 1869, also giving the names of the 

When held. Place. ''"'" ve^tion.*^"' County Secretary. 

Spring, 18C9 Hudson. Rev. G. W.Warner. Kcv. A. Mattice. 

Octobi-r, 18G9...Cliivi.nick. Kev. A. Flack. " " 

Miiy, 1S70 Ohathiim Village. Rev. A. Coous. " " *' 

Ottoljer, 1870...Gerni;into\vn. " " " " " " 

May, 1S71 Valatie. Dr. A. Abbott. " '• 

November,1871.Canajin 4 CornerB. A. I. Bristol. " *' ** 

May, 1872 ChurchtowD. H.K.Smith, " " 

October, 1872... .Ghent. " '• " " " 

May, 1873 Chatham Village. J. Wesley Jones. " " 

Noyember,1873.VaIalie. " " Rev. J. B. Drury. 

May, 1874 Claverack. " " Rev.N. H. Van Arsdale. 

May, 1875 Chatbam Village. Rev. J. G. Griffith. F. H. Webb. 

May, 1876 Hillsdale. A. I. Bristol. Rev. G. W. Warner. 

October, lS76.,..ChiMchtown. " " " " " 

June, 1877 Ghent. " " J. Spencer Hosford. 

May, 1878 Kinderhook. Kev. H. A. Starks. 

Statistics showing the condition of the work are gath- 
ered each year by the county secretary, with the assistance 
of the town secretaries, from each Sabbath-school, thus 
giving a basis for future work, and helping to show the 
condition of the work in the whole State. 

The work of the association is to thoroughly organize 
Sabbath-school work in the county by the gathering in of 
all the children, and also by encouraging the study of the 
Bible to a greater extent. The importance of the work 
has been gradually growing in the minds of the people, and 
still continues to grow. 

The oflScers of the association for the year beginning May, 
1878, are : President, Rev. Henry A. Starks, Chatham ; 
Vice-Presidents, Abel I. Bristol, Henry L. Warner, Levi 
Coons ; Secretary and Treasurer, J. Spencer Hosford, Kin- 
derhook ; Town Secretaries, Ancrani : A. A. Vosburgh, 
Copake ; Austerlitz : L. S. Griswold, Spencertown ; Canaan : 
Ralph Hall, Canaan Four Corners; Chatham : William B. 
Rowland, Chatham Village ; Clermont : Martin Williams ; 

Claverack : W. A. Harder, Jr., Philmont ; Copake : ; 

Gallatin : Rev. D. B. Wyckoff, Mount Ross ; Greenport : 
Rev. J. S. Himrod, Hudson ; Germantown : Rev. James 
Wyckoff; Ghent: Rev. S. A. Weikert; Hillsdale: A. F. 
Park; Hudson: A. S. Peet ; Kinderhook: Rev. W. In- 
galls ; Livingston : James Ham ; New Lebanon : C. W. 
Bacon, New Lebanon ; Stockport : Alfred Ostrom, Stuy- 
vesant Falls ; Stuyvesant : Edw. Van Alstyne, Kinder- 
kook ; Taghkanic : George Best, Churchtown. 

The following is the statistical table for 1877 ; four schools 
did not make any report, and are estimated : 















Town Seceetahies. 









A. A. Vosburgh. 







L. S. Griswold. 









Ralph Hall. 

Ch ithiui 








William B. Howland. 





Nelson Cnons. 










W. A. Harder, Jr. 









James E. Strever. 









Rev. D. B. Wyckoff. 








Rev. J. 8. Himrod. 









Rev. James Wvckoff. 








Rev. S. A. Wcikert. 









Levi Coons. 










A. S. Peet. 









A. Abbott. 

N( w Lebanon 








Robert Hood. 








C. W. Bacon. 









Gustavus Rodine. 








Alfred Ostrom. 

Taghkan.c . 








George Best. 

Schools not ro])orting, tMnnatcd 
















At the international Sunday-school convention, held in 
Atlanta, Ga., in April of this year (1878), this State was 
one of the seven " banner States" which could report every 
county organized. 


having for their object " to oppose and reform the prevail- 
ing disregard of the Sabbath," were formed here about the 
year 1814. On the 10th of January, in that year, the 
" Columbia Moral Society" was formed at Hudson, a ser- 
mon by the Rev. Azariah Clark being preached on the oc- 
casion. The rolls of the society bore a great number of 
names of the best and most influential people of the county. 
Auxiliaries to the county society were formed in Clav- 
erdck, Kindcrhook, Livingston, and other towns immedi- 
ately after, and the example set here was soon followed in 
the adjoining county of Berkshire, Mass. We have been 
unable to ascertain much of the later operations of 



Roads — Stage-Routes — Turnpikes — Steamboats — Railroads. 

"The Dutch are great improvers of land," said Gov- 
ernor NicoUs in his report on the condition of the colony ; 
which was true, beyond all doubt, but the same would not 
have been applicable to their building and improvement of 
roads. To the first settlers along the river-bank, the stream 
furnished all the highway they cared for or needed ; and 
when, a little later, others came and located a short distance 
inland, a rough "wagon-way" from their lands to the river, 
enabling them to take their grain and other produce to a point 
where a sloop could land, filled all their requirements for travel 
and transportation. Such were the roads traversed by the 
Labadist brothers, who visited the country back from Clav- 
erack and Kindcrhook Landings about 1680. That there 
were no roads across the mountains to the eastward, in the 

year 1690, is shown by the fact that Winthrop's troops, 
who came through from Hartford in that year, were a week 
in reaching Kindcrhook " through the wilderness." There 
was, however, a practicable road through to Massachusetts 
before the commencement of the boundary or anti-rent war, 
in 1751-52 ; and before 1714 (as is shown by Beatty's 
map, made in that year) " the king's highway" had been 
opened from Oak Hill, on the Hudson, eastward to Tagh- 
kanic, and there were roads running nearly across the pres- 
ent county, in its northern part. The first road traversing 
the county from north to south was the " old post-road," 
leading from Albany to New York, through Kindcrhook, 
Claverack, and Livingston. As early as 1684 it was estab- 
lished by authority " that the rates for riding post be, per 
mile, 3 pence ; for every single letter, not above 100 miles, 
3 pence ; if more, proportlonably." 

On the 24th of November, 1750, an act was passed for 
the regulating and laying out of highways, of which that 
part having reference to this part of Albany county was as 
follows : " The persons herein named shall be, and hereby 
are, appointed commissioners to regulate highways, and to 
lay out such publick Roads as may still be necessary, and 
are hereby fully authorized and empowered to put in Exe- 
cution the several Services intended by this act ; . . . that is 
to say, — For the Blanor of Livingston, from the southern- 
most bounds thereof unto the bounds of Claverack : Robert 
Livingston, Jr., Lendert Conyn, and Dirck Ten Brook ; for 
Claverack, from the southernmost bounds thereof to the 
boundary of Kindcrhook: John Van Rensselaer, Henry 
Van Rensselaer, and Casparus Conyn; for Kindcrhook, 
from the southernmost bounds thereof, through the woods 
to Greenbush, including all the inhabitants along the Road, 
though they belong to the Manor of Rensselaerswyck : 
Cornelius Van Schaack, Tobias Van Burren, Barrent Van 

The date of the first passage of mail-stages through this 
county is not exactly known, but it is probable that it was 
not until after the Revolution. Among the Sir William 
Johnson documents is found an allusion to the mail service 


between Albany and New York, in 1772, as follows: " The 
mail to be sent weekly from New York to Albany, up one 
side of the River and down the other, for which an extra 
£100 is to be allowed ;" the presumption being strong that 
tliis service was performed on horseback. 

In 1786 an act of Assembly was passed granting to Isaac 
Van Wyck, Talmage Hall, and John Kinney the exclusive 
right " to erect, set up, carry on, and drive stage-wagons" 
between Albany and New York, on the east side of Hudson's 
river, for a term of ten years ; and restraining all opposition 
to them by a penalty of £200. They were to have and 
furnish at least two covered wagons, each drawn by four 
able horses ; the fare to be limited to fourpence per mile, 
under any circumstances. Trips were to be performed at 
least once a week, under penalty of forfeiture of charter. 
This company advertised that during the season of good 
roads their stage-wagons would perform the journey in two 
days, with a charge of only threepence per mile ; but that 
in time of bad roads, " for the ease of the passengers," the 
time of running through would be lengthened to three days, 
and the price raised to fourpence per mile, " agreeably to 
act of assembly." The termini of the route were at Coe's 
tavern, in Albany, and Lewis' tavern, in New York ; and 
the stopping-place in the city of Hudson was at Kellogg's 

The following is a copy of an advertisement of a line 
(apparently a new line) of stages starting on the route in 
1793. It is from the Hudson Gazette of Oct. 25, in that 

** The public are informed that the Live of Stages will commence 
running from N. Y. to Albany, & from Alb. to N. Y., on Monday, 
the 4th of Nov. The carriages will leave the aforesaid cities every 
Monday and Thursday mornings, and deliver the passengers every 
Monday and Sat. evenings. The line will be well supplied with 
Horses, harness, A carriages. Only 10 persons can be admitted, un- 
less with the consent of the passengers. The proprietors do not hold 
themselves responsible for the loss of baggage, — each passenger will 
be permitted to carry 14 lb. gratis; any weight between 14 & 50 to 
be paid for at the rate of 150 lbs. as a passenger ; any weight above 
50 the props, do not hold themselves bound to carry, but if carried must 
be pd. for in prop'n to size and convenience. E.xtra carriages may 
be had by .applying to Mr. Slay, Cortlandt St., N. Y., or to Mr. Ash- 
bel Ely, Albany A Kinderhook." 

That there was, in 1785, no mail route across the moun- 
tains to New England is evident from the announcement made 
by the proprietors of the Iliiihon Gazette, on the 7th day of 
April, in that year, to the effect that " the printers inform 
the public that they have agreed to establish a post, to ride 
weekly to Litchfield, Conn., where he will exchange papers 
with the posts from Boston, Hartford, and New Haven," — 
and, in 1787, they reminded the public that " the post-rider 
has ridden almost half a year, not asking for pay ; he now 
requests pay in good merchantable grain, of any kind, or 
flax at cash price.* 

Next came the era of turnpike-roads, of which at one 
time Columbia had probably a greater mileage than any 
county in the State, of its size, but nearly all of which 

* This post-rider did a kind of express business in small parcels, 
etc., and was particularly requested by some of the enterprising 
traders or hair-workers of Hudson to bring in all the "long human 
hair" which he could collect on his route through the remote scltle- 

have now been surrendered. The Dutch settlers asked, 
" What do we want with turnpikes ? Our grandfathers had 
none, and why cannot we do without them as well as they 
did ?" But the Dutch farmers of Columbia county were 
environed by New England influence. Transplanted New 
Englanders were intrenched upon their west at Hudson, 
and New England itself lay just across the Taghkanic hills 
to the east, and therefore a turnpike-road between these two 
points was inevitable. It was the third turnpike in the 
State; chartered in 1799, and built in that year and in 
1800, running from Hudson city to the Massachusetts line, 
through the towns of Hudson, Greenport, Claverack, Tagh- 
kanic, Copake. and Hillsdale, about twenty miles. The 
first meeting of the company was held in the city of Hud- 
son, and the following-named persons were chosen directors : 

Thomas Jenkins, Eiisha Jenkins, Rufus Backus, Samuel 
Edmonds, Robert Jenkins, Stephen Miller, John Hager- 
man, Benjamin Haxtun, Eiisha Pitkin, Isaac Northrup, 
Paul Dakin, Thomas Power, and Jacob R. Van Rensselaer. 
At a subsequent meeting, Eiisha Pitkin was cho.sen presi- 
dent, Robert Jenkins clerk, and Eiisha Jenkins treasurer. 
Capital stock, $25,000. 

The following persons have served as president : Eiisha 
Pitkin served three years ; Nathaniel Greene, four years ; 
Thomas Jenkins, two years; Alexander CoflSn, twenty-eight 
years ; Eiisha Jenkins, eight years ; Samuel Rossiter, three 
years ; Alexander Jenkins, two years ; Job B. Coffin, four 
years ; Benjamin F. Deuell, twenty-five years. 

The board commenced taking toll in November, 1800. 

This turnpike is still in operation ; the present president 
of the corporation is Benjamin F. Deuell. 

Other turnpikes followed in quick succession. The 
Rensselaer and Columbia turnpike, of which John Tryon, 
Eleazer Grant, and others were the corporators, was char- 
tered in the same year (1799) " to run from the line of 
the State of Massachusetts, where the road from Pittsfield 
and Hancock leads by the springs in Canaan, by the house 
of Eiisha Gilbert and others, to the ferry near the house of 
John I. Van Rensselaer." The " Hudson and Livingston 
turnpike" was chartered in 1802, and the " Ancram and 
Susquehanna turnpike" in 1804; its route being nearly 
identical with that of the old " King's Highway" in the 
manor of Livingston. The " Chatham Turnpike-road" 
was incorporated April 10, 1804, the corporators being 
Peter I. Vosburgh, Bartholomew I. Van Volkenburgh, 
John Goes, Jr., Medad Butler, John Rodgers, Abraham I. 
Van Vleck, John A. Van Buren, Lupton Warner, and 

The " Highland turnpike" was chartered in 1804. The 
" Hillsdale and Chatham" was incorporated April 2, 1805, 
" for improving the road from the house of David Grossman, 
Jr., near the Massachusetts line, to intersect the Rensselaer 
and Columbia turnpike, or the present post-road leading 
from Kinderhook to Albany." After these were chartered 
the " Branch turnpike" to Ancram, 1805 ; the " Claverack 
and Hillsdale," in 1808 ; the " Canaan and Chatham," in 
same year ; the " Hudson Branch turnpike," to improve 
the road " from the house of Fite Miller, in the town of 
Livingston," to Hudson, in 1812; the "Farmers' turn- 
pike," Hudson to Troy, in 1813; and others, of which few 


are now in existence, and few ever proved of any advantage, 
either to their corporators or to the people of the county. 


The first attempt to navigate the Hudson river, by the 
use of steam as a propelling power, was made, not by 
Robert Fulton, as has very generally been asserted and be- 
lieved, but by a resident of Columbia county, Chancellor 
Robert R. Livingston. It appears that the chancellor, who, 
in addition to his pre-eminent legal and literary attainments, 
was endued with a mechanical turn of mind, had planned 
some improvements on Watt's engine, and afterwards con- 
ceived the idea of applying it to the purposes of navigation ; 
though whether this was an original thought, or whether 
it was suggested by the then recent experiments of Fitch 
upon the Delaware, or of Cartwright and other inventors 
in England, does not appear. 

A boat intended for the application of his idea was con- 
structed for him at a place called De Koven's bay, south 
of TivoU, in the year 1797, by a man named Nisbet ; and 
as the engineer in the enterprise he employed a Frenchman, 
who had fled from his own country in the revolution of 
1793, and with whom Livingston had probably become 
acquainted in the course of his experiments directed towards 
the improvement of the engine. This Frenchman was 
Brunei, afterwards the engineer of the great Thames tunnel 
in London. 

Confident of the ultimate success of his project, and with 
a view to secure to himself the material advantages to accrue 
from such a result, he procured the passage by the Legis- 
lature of a bill granting to him the exclusive right to navi- 
gate by steam the waters within the limits of the State. 
The bill, introduced by Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell, and passed 
March 27, 1798, recited in its preamble that " Robert R. 
Livingston is in possession of a mode of applying the steam- 
engine to propel a boat on new and advantageous principles ; 
but is deterred from carrying the same into effect by the 
existence of a law, passed March 19, 1787, giving to John 
Fitch the sole right of making the steamboat by him lately 
invented," and proceeded to repeal the said law in favor of 
Fitch, and to grant to the chancellor the exclusive privilege, 
as above mentioned, " for twenty years after the passage of 
this act, if he shall within twelve months build a boat of 
twenty tons, propelled by steam, and the mean of whose 
progress through the water, with and against the current of 
Hudson's River taken together, shall not be less than four 
miles an hour ; and shall at no time omit for the space of 
one year to have a boat of such construction plying between 
the cities of New York and Albany." The boat, however, 
proved a failure, and the act expired by reason of non-ful- 
fillment of its conditions. 

On Mr. Livingston's arrival in France as minister, in 
1801, he came in contact with Robert Fulton, who had 
come to Paris for the purpose of bringing to the attention 
of the First Consul a marine torpedo of his own invention. 
Between these two there at once sprang up an intimacy, 
which at the end of about two years resulted in the con- 
struction of a small boat, which they propelled by steam 
upon the Seine, with sufficient success to justify a renewal 
upon the North river of Livingston's project of 1797-98. 

Having both returned to the United States, Fulton com- 
menced, in 1806, the building of that small, but historic 
craft, the " Clermont," built with funds furnished by Mr. 
Livingston, and named for his Columbia county estate.* 
It is needless to repeat the well-known but melancholy story 
of her construction, of the jeers, the ridicule, the open in- 
sults which constantly assailed her heroic projector from the 
laying of her keel to the hour of her final triumph. " The 
project," wrote Fulton to a friend, " was viewed by the 
public, either with indiff'erence or with contempt, as a vision- 
ary scheme. My friends indeed were civil, but they were 
shy. They listened with patience to my explanations, but 
with a settled cast of incredulity on their countenances. 
Never did a single word of encouragement or of bright 
hope, or a warm wish, cross my path. Silence itself was 
but politeness, veiling doubts or hiding its reproaches." 

The little vessel was launched in the East river, in 
August, 1807. Her dimensions were — length, one hundred 
feet ; width, twelve feet ; depth, seven feet. Aft«r receiving 
her engine — built in Birmingham, England, by Boulton & 
Watt — she was taken into the North river, and laid upon 
the Jersey side, from whence she was to take her first de- 
parture for Albany. The following advertisement, copied 
from a newspaper of the 2d of September, 1807, announced 
the expected event : 

"The North River Steamboat will leave Pauler's Hook [Jersey 
City] on Friday, the 4th day of September, at 9 o'clock in the morn- 
ing, and arrive at Albany on Saturday, at 9 in the evening." 

The trip, however, was not made on the specified day, on 
account of a failure of some part of the boat's machinery, 
which occurred when but a short distance out, and com- 
pelled her to return to the dock for repairs. These being 
completed, she again started on her voyage, and this time 
accomplished it triumphantly, in four hours less than the 
advertised time, arriving at Albany at 5 p.m. of the second 

" The morning I left New York," said Fulton, " there 
were not perhaps thirty persons in the city who believed 
that the boat would ever move one mile an hour, or be of 
the least utility." But it would appear that the doubters 
were soon converted, if we may believe the somewhat extra- 
vagant and ridiculous account given by Fulton's biographer. 
" Before the boat had made the progress of half a mile," 
he says, " the greatest unbeliever was converted. Fulton 
was received with shouts and acclamations of congratula- 
tion and applause. She made this her first voyage from 
New York to Albany at an average rate of five miles an 
hour, stopping for some time at Chancellor Livingston's 
dock at Clermont to take in wood. The whole voyage up 
the river was one continued triumph. The vessel is de- 
scribed as having the most terrific appearance. The dry 
pine fuel sent up many feet above the flue a column of 

■^ In 1793, the Count St. Hilary and his wife, the Countess of Cler- 
mont, fled from the terrors of the Revolution in France, and found a 
secluded asylum upon the shores of Oneida lake, in New York. Here 
they were found by Chancellor Livingston, who insisted on their ac- 
companying him to his estate upon the Hudson. This invitation 
they accepted, and remained at the chancellor's country home until 
the Reign of Terror had jiassed. The estate of Clermont was so 
named by its owner in honor of the countess. 


ignited vapor, and, when the fire was stirred, tremendous 
showers of sparks. Tlie wind and tide were adverse to 
them, but the crowds saw with astonishment the vessel 
coming rapidly towards them ; and when it came so near 
that the noise of the machinery and paddles was heard 
" tlie crews of many sailing vessels shriiii/c beneath their 
decks at the terrific sight, while others prostrated themselves 
and besought Providence to protect them from the approach 
of the horrible monster which was marching on the tide 
and lighting its path by the fire that it vomited." 

This writer would have us believe that the skippers and 
crews of the North river sailing craft, in 1807, were as 
simple-minded and untutored as those natives of San Salva- 
dor who hid themselves away from the flash and report of 
Columbus' guns, believing them to be the fiery eyes and 
the thundering voice of the Great Spirit. But, divested 
of its extravagance, the account shows simply that all along 
the route the people flocked to the river-side to gaze in 
curiosity (though not in fear) at the strange-looking vessel 
as it passed,* and that they gave unstintingly to Fulton 
the tribute of applause and admiration which is always 
extorted by success. 

That the " Clermont" was at once, and largely, patronized 
by the traveling public is shown by the following item 
from the New York Evening Post of October 2, 1807: 
" The newly-invented steamboat, which is fitted up in a 
neat style for passengers, and is intended to run from New 
York to Albany as a packet, left here this morning with 
ninety passengers, against a strong head-wind. Notwith- 
standing which, it was judged she moved through the water 
at the rate of six miles an hour." 

Before the close of the season (in which, however, she 
made but two or three trips) the travel which offered was 
largely in excess of the " Clermont's" accommodations. She 
was, therefore, taken to what was then called lower Red 
Hook, where she was hauled out on ways, and during the 
winter of 1807-8 was entirely rebuilt and remodeled, by 
ship-carpenters from the city of Hud.son ; her length being 
increased from one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet, 
and her beam from twelve to eighteen feet. About the 
first of May she was re-launched, re-christened as the 
" North River," and, in charge of Captain Samuel Jenkins, 
was taken to New York, where she received her cabin-work 
and machinery, which latter had in the mean time been put 
in what was then considered thorough repair, though at the 
end of her first succeeding trip her boiler was found worth- 
less, and was replaced by a new one of copper. 

One of the passengers (and the latest surviving one) of 
the " North River," on her first trip to Albany, was the 
late Francis Sayre, Esq., of Catskill, who, in a letter written 
in September, 1857, made the following mention of that 
event : " Commodore Wiswall was now in command. At 
the hour appointed for her departure (nine o'clock A.M.), 
Chancellor Livingston, with a number of invited friends, 

« "A farmer living on the banks of the Hudson hastened home to 
apprise his wife and neighbors that he had seen the dei-il ijuing tip the 
river in a saw-mill." The writer- before quoted says, "She e.xoitcd 
the astonishment of the venerable Dutch burgomaster, who almost 
dropped his precious pipe as, with strained eyes, he exclaimed, 
' Dunder en blicksen !' " 

came on board, and, after a good deal of bustle and no little 
noise and confusion, the boat was got out into the stream 
and headed up the river. Steam was put on and sails were 
set, for she was provided with large square sails, attached 
to masts, that were so constructed that they could be raised 
and lowered as the direction and strength of the wind 
might require. There was at this time a light breeze from 
the south, and with steam and sails a very satisfactory rate 
of speed was obtained, . . . and, as the favorable wind 
continued, we kept on the even tenor of our way, and just 
before sunrise next morning we were at Clermont, the resi- 
dence of the chancellor, who with his friends landed, and 
the boat proceeded to Albany, where she arrived at two or 
three o'clock p.m." 

Two or three days were spent at Albany in repairs upon 
the boiler, which nevertlieless gave out entirely on the re- 
turn trip, some thirty miles above New York, and the 
remainder of the voyage was accomplished under sail. The 
boat was then laid up for about two months, awaiting the 
completion of her new copper boiler, as before mentioned. 
Her trips were then resumed, and from that time were ac- 
complished with regularity, fairly inaugurating the era of 
steamboat navigation upon the Hudso'n. 

The project, from its inception to its consummation, 
owed more to Columbia than to any other county ; more 
than to all others, excepting New York. The boat was 
named for a town and estate in Columbia ; a citizen of the 
county had first conceived the idea of her construction, and 
had furnished the means to execute it; her captain was a 
ship-master of Hudson ; and her first pilot (David Mande- 
ville) was a resident of the same city ; and when she was 
rebuilt as the " North River" the work was performed by 
Hudson mechanics. 

The " Car of Neptune" was the next steamboat built to 
navigate the Hudson after the remodeling of the " Cler- 
mont." Fulton owned an interest in her, though to what 
extent is not known. Following her came the " Paragon," 
and then came others in rapid succession. In 1826 there 
were some sixteen steamboats plying the river, taking pas- 
sengers only. The sloops monopolized the freight business. 
The following is a list of the steamboats that competed for 
the traveling patronage of the river : 

Wnion Line. — " Olive Branch," " Niagara," " William 

North River Line. — " Chancellor Livingston," " James 
Kent," " Richmond," and " Saratoga." 

Connecticut Line; Hudson Steam Navigation Com- 
pany. — " Swiftsure" and " Commerce." 

Troy Line. — " Chief-Justice Marshall" and ■' New Lon- 

North River Association Line. — " Constellation" and 
" Constitution." 

The safety-barges " Lady Clinton" and " Lady Van 
Rensselaer," Captains Seymour and Peck, were towed in 
the rear of the respective steamers " Commerce" and 
" Swiftsure." The passage was performed chiefly by day- 
light, giving the passengers an opportunity to view the 
interesting scenery of the Hudson, and affording to trav- 
elei-s an unrivaled degree of comfort and entire security from 
those disasters to which steamboats and sailing packets are 



exposed. These passenger-boats made stops at Hudson 
and other important landings, and, throughout the summer 
months, formed the only means of public conveyance to the 
people of this county up to the time of the opening of rail- 

Among the boats which succeeded those already named 
were the " De Witt Clinton" (launched in 1828), the 
" Oliver Ellsworth," " Henry Eckford," " United States," 
"Sandusky," "Ohio," "Albany," "Captain Jenkins," 
" Rochester," " Robert L. Stevens," " Diamond," " Hen- 
drik Hudson," " Oregon," " Empire," " Erie," and " Cham- 
plain," four-pipe boats ; " Francis Skiddy," at one time 
made two trips a day ; " Arrow," " Napoleon," cigar-boat, 
built by Burden, which proved a total failure ; " Emerald," 
" New Philadelphia," " North, and South America," " West- 
chester," " Knickerbocker," " Niagara," " Isaac Newton," 
"Armenia," " Alida," "Kosciusko," "Washington," "Cur- 
tis Peck," "Wave," "Portsmouth," "General Jackson," 
" Illinois," " Metamora," " Iron Witch," " Roger Wil- 
liams," " Confidence," " New Jersey," " Sun," " Express," 
and " Columbia." The " Rip Van AVinkle" was a favorite 
boat, and was commanded by Captains Abell, George 
Riggs, and Roe, now in command of the " Dean Rich- 

One of the most notable steamboat disasters upon the 
Hudson river occurred in the evening of the 7th of April, 
1845, in the Athens channel, opposite the city of Hudson. 
Tiie Hudson Rural Repository of April 12 gave the fol- 
lowing account of the calamity : 

"On Monday evening, April 7, the steamboat 'Swal- 
low,' Captain A. H. Squires, was on her passage from 
Albany to New York, and when opposite this city, in the 
Athens channel, ran upon a little, rocky island,* broke in 
two, and in a few minutes sank. The alarm was imme- 
diately spread in Athens, and a large number of citizens 
soon rallied to the scene of disaster, and happily succeeded 
in rescuing many lives. Soon after the steamboats ' Ex- 
press' and ' Rochester' came down and promptly rendered 
what assistance was in their power, taking many passengers 
with them to New York. The ' Swallow' had on board a 
large number of passengers, but the exact loss of life is at 
present unknown [the number lost proved to be about fif- 
teen]. The night was excessively dark, with a heavy gale, 

* That little islet had been formerly known as "Noah's Brig," 
especially among the lumbermen who ran rafts of logs and lumber 
down the river. The circumstance from which it derived this name 
is the following. One night a large number of rafts were coming 
down the west channel, one of them being under the command of a 
man who was known among his comrades by his Christian name, 
" Noah." As the rnfts neared this point Noah espied in the dim light 
a dark object riding upon the waters, which he at once decided to be 
a brig under sail, and as soon as he had approached near enough he 
hailed it, " Brig ahoy !'* No response. Again, in stentorian tone, 
bis bail rang out upon the night air, but still no attention was paid, 
and the mysterious craft kept unswervingly to its course. This ct- 
appcratcd Noah, and his third hail was "Brig ahoy! Answer, or I'll 
run you down !" and, as no reply was given, true to his word he did 
run down theinlatni ; two trees standing widely apart having deceived 
him as to its character. Probabl}' neither Noah's brig nor his raft 
sustained serious injury, but the poor " Swallow" met a more cruel 
fate. A large portion of the island has been taken away, and the 
rock material was used in constructing the embankments of the canal 
through the middle ground. 

snow and rain, and very cold. Our citizens are yet busy 
about the wreck." 

On the morning of July 4, 1861, the "New World," 
from New York for Albany, was sunk off the Stuyvesant 
shore, but without loss of life. She was soon after raised, 
towed to New York, put in order, and used as a hospital 
boat in the vicinity of West Point. The steamboats now 
running through between Albany and New York are the 
magnificent night-line, the " St. John" and " Dean Rich- 
mond," and the day-lino, composed of the " Drew" and "C. 
Vibbard," which make stops at all the principal landings. 
The lines having their termini within this county are else- 
where mentioned. 

No river in the world has been so extensively and ex- 
pensively navigated as the Hudson. Some of the largest, 
fleetest, and most costly steamers ever built have plied, and 
are still plying, upon this beautiful i 

In the matter of the location and construction of railway 
lines, at a period when such projects were regarded by many 
as of doubtful expediency, if not absolutely chimerical, 
Columbia is entitled to take rank among the pioneer coun- 
ties of New York, as we think we shall show in the brief 
account which we here give of the building and opening of 
the vaiious lines within her domain. 


As early as the year 1826 a few enterprising men, with 
a boldness which even yet seems amazing, conceived the 
idea of uniting the valley of the Hudson with the Massa- 
chusetts capital by means of a railroad track, which must 
climb the acclivities of Taghkanic and surmount the for- 
bidding summits of Berkshire. It is not strange that the 
scheme was freely ridiculed, and denounced as a manifesta- 
tion of insanity, but, nevertheless, it had no lack of enthu- 
siastic supporters, and from the very first was received with 
especial favor in the county of Columbia, and in the neigh- 
boring portions of the adjoining State. 

The Legislature of Massachusetts, at its June ses.sion, in 
1827, appointed commissioners " to cause the necessary sur- 
veys, plans, and estimates to be made on the best practicable 
route from Boston to the New York line, and thence (with 
leave obtained) to the Hudson river at or near Albany," 
and $10,000 was voted to defray the expense of the 

Through the summer and fall of 1827 the "railroad 
agitation," as it was termed, continued to increase, until, in 
Columbia county at least, opposition to the enterprise was 
nearly extinct; and at a railroad meeting held at Canaan, 
Jan. 25, 1828, the attendance was so large, and the enthu- 
siasm so boundless, that it was said that if an authorized 
corporation had then and there asked subscriptions for the 
construction of a road from Hudson to West Stockbridge, 
the entire amount of stock would have been taken upon the 

In April, 1828, the New York Legislature passed an act 
authorizing the survey of a route or routes from the Hud- 
son to the Massachusetts line, and pledging that if Miissa- 


chusetts should build her road to that point from Boston, 
this State would continue it to the river, or authorize and 
incorporate a company to do so. 

In due time the commissioners of both States reported 
surveys to their respective Legislatures. Through the terri- 
tory of New York two routes had been considered and sur- 
veyed, one from Troy to the Massachusetts line, near 
Adams, and the other to consist of two branches, starting 
respectively from Albany and Hud.son, to unite at Chatham, 
and proceed thence to the Massachusetts line, near West 

Earnest disputes and much rivalry ensued between the 
advocates of the northern and the southern routes, and this 
was even more the case on the east than on the west side of 
the State line. But all of middle and southern Berkshire 
was united in the resolve not to wait for a final decision 
upon the route of the through road, much less for the dis- 
tant event of its completion. If it were commenced at 
once, weary years be spent in its construction, and 
meanwhile a short and comparatively inexpensive line might 
be built over a familiar route to their old and favorite mart 
of trade, the city of Hudson, from whence the river offered 
its noble highway to New York ; and at that day none 
thought of questioning the superiority of the steamboat over 
the railway as a means of travel and transportation. 

The people of Hudson had been awake and active in the 
promotion of this enterprise. In January, 1828, they had 
sent delegates to the interested Berk.shire towns, and on the 
3Ist of that month a meeting attended by the principal 
citizens of both counties was held at West Stockbridge, and 
resulted in the presentation of petitions to the Legislatures 
of New York and Massachusetts asking for acts of incor- 
poration. New York responded by an act, passed May 1, 
1828, incorporating the Hudson and Berkshire Railroad 
Company, with a capital of $350,000. Massachusetts de- 
layed, and finally refused to charter the portion of the lino 
within her jurisdiction, — a course of action doubtless 
prompted by the fear of diverting trade to New York, but 
in marked contrast with the prompt co-operation which this 
State extended to Massachusetts in authorizing the exten- 
sion of her proposed line to the canal at Albany. This, 
however, did not discourage the friends of the project in 
that State, and they continued to press the matter with so 
much vigor and pei-sistency that their Legislature at length 
yielded, and granted the charter in 1831. 

No organization was effected by the Hudson and Berk- 
shire company until 1835 ; their charter in the mean time 
having expired and been renewed by the Legislature. On 
the 5th of May, 1835, the following announcement appeared 
in the Hudson Gazette in reference to the opening of the 
books: " Hudson and Berkshire Railroad. — The books for 

■•■'■ Until this time, and later, thu use of locomotives was not con- 
templated by the projectors, but all the plans and estimates of the 
engineers and commissioners were based wholly on the idea of the 
use of animal power for the moving of trains, "as better adapted to 
the transportation of the endless variety of loading which a dense 
and industrious population requires." Colonel Kichard P. Morgan, 
in his report upon the mountain division of the route in M.assachu- 
setts, proposed the construction of inclined planes, along which cars 
were (o be drawn by the power of watcr-whecls where such power 
was found available; otherwise by horses, or, better than all, by oxen. 

subscription for stock were opened yesterday at the Hudson 
River Bank, and we are happy in having it in our power 
to state that when our paper went to press the sum of 
$217,550 had been subscribed." The entire amount sub- 
scribed during the three days the books remained open was 
$746,550 ; this being iwore than double the sum required. 
The allotment of stock was immediately made, and the 
company organized May 27, electing the following board of 
directors, viz. : John Delafield, Robbins Kellogg, Oliver 
Wiswall, Rufus Reed, Silas Sprague, Robert A. Barnard, 
William A. Dean, Gouverneur Kemble, James Mellen, 
Elihu Gifford, John W. Edmonds, Samuel Anable, Am- 
brose L. Jordan. The final survey was commenced at once, 
and the work was placed under contract during the follow- 
ing autumn. 

From the letter of a correspondent of the American Trav- 
eller, published in that journal in May, 1837, while this 
road was in process of construction, we make the following 
quotiition, as showing the expectations which were then 
based on the opening of this pioneer line. Those portions 
which refer to the probable establishment of a travelers' 
route between New York and Boston, to make the journey 
in twenty-one hours, by way of the city of Hudson, and of 
a through route from Boston to the great west via Catskill 
and Canajoharie, read strangely enough at the present day. 
This correspondent says, " This road passes through a beau- 
tiful valley embracing one of the richest farming districts in 
the State. At Stockbridge it will connect with the great 
Western railroad from Boston, and at Catskill with the 
railroad loading to Canajoharie, and thence to Buffalo. 
Through this avenue the east may be supplied with the 
produce of the fertile west, and the latter with the manu- 
factures of the east. It will also afford a new route for 
travelers from the ' Commercial' to the ' Literary Empo- 
rium.' They may then leave the city of New York at five 
o'clock P.M., reach Hudson at four a.m., and arrive at Bos- 
tonf at two P.M. of the following day. But independent of 
all travel and eastern and western transportation, it is esti- 
mated that the county of Berkshire will support the road 
andmorethanpay the interest of the capital. . . . Individuals 
acquainted with the marble business have offered to contract 
to deliver to the company at Stockbridge, from the quarries 
of beautiful marble in that village, 100 tons per day for 
nine months in the year, and to insure the sale of the same 
amount when delivered at Hudson. But for safety I will 
assume but half that amount at $2 per ton for transporta- 
tion, where they now pay $5 ; say 50 tons per day for 240 
days, pays $24,000. The other tonnage to and from the 
Hudson river w;is ascertained two years since to exceed 
25,000 tons, which, at $2, would amount to $50,000, giving 
a total of $74,000. To secure the marble business to this 
company an association of the railroad stockholders have 
purchased nearly all of the principal quarries in the vicinity 
of Stockbridge. The marble of which the Girard College 
at Philadelphia is built was transported from the quarries 
over a hilly road to be shipped at Hudson. 

" The Lebanon Springs are only seven miles from the 

t The Western railroad of M.assachusetts, however, over which 
this contemplated connection was to be made, was not opened until 
more than four years after the date of this letter. 



line of the road, and as soon as the main road is completed 
a branch will be made to that place. That the Berkshire 
and Hudson railroad will materially advance the prosperity 
of this rising city (Hudson) I do not entertain a doubt. . . . 
The whole line, extending from Hudson* to West Stock- 
bridge, thirty-two miles, is under contract for grading, and 
nearly or quite completed. The rails will in all probability 
be laid this summer, and by September of the present year 
the work will be completed." 

The road was opened for travel September 26, 1838, and 
the event was celebrated at West Stockbridge with bound- 
loss enthusiasm by a great concourse of the citizens of Co- 
lumbia and Berkshire. The construction and equipment of 
the line were not of the best, nor indeed were they such as 
would be regarded as even passable at the present day. 
The track was formed of ordinary flat bar-iron, five-eighths 
of an inch in thickness, laid on wooden stringers ; and the 
grades of the road, for four miles of its length, varied from 
seventy-one to eighty feet per mile. The cars were short and 
box-like, and were mounted on springs which were scarcely 
springs at all ; so that, in such vehicles and over such a 
frail and uneven track, passengers found very little of the 
comfort which attends railway travel at the present day. 
Still it was a railroad, and its vast superiority over the 
old methods of freight transportation was apparent from the 
first, while for the surging and jolting of the train, travel- 
ers were more than compensated by its speed, which then 
seemed almost marvelous, — for the idea of the employment 
of animal-power which had at first been entertained was 
abandoned, and locomotives (such as they were) were used 

An extension of the road beyond West Stockbridge 
(known as the Pittsfield and West Stockbridge railroad) 
having been opened in May, 1841, and all links having 
been joined beyond Pittsfield during the succeeding five 
months, the unbroken route between Hudson and Boston 
was opened, amid great rejoicing, Oct. 4, 1841. 

The Castleton and West Stockbridge Railroad Company 
was incorporated by the Legislature of New York in May, 
1834. The line, so authorized, to run from Castleton to 
the Massachusetts line, on a route to West Stockbridge. 
In 1 836 it was re-chartered as the Albany and West Stock- 
bridge Company, and with a corresponding change of 
western terminus, making it identical with the northern 
branch of the southernmost of the two routes considered and 
surveyed by the commissioners appointed by the Legislature 
in 1828, and nearly the same as the New York portion of 
the present Boston and Albany railroad. The company 
was composed principally of citizens of the State of New 
York, but the construction and operation of the road was 
afterwards, by agreement, assumed by the Western Rail- 
road Company of Ma.s.sachusetts. 

It had first been proposed to use the wooden track, 
capped with the flat bar, but the inferiority of this method 
had been so clearly demonstrated upon the Hudson road 
that it was rejected here, and a serviceable iron rail was 
used instead. This line wasvigorously pushed to comple- 

» The route as originally laid out reached the river at the North 
bay, upon the north side of the city, but was changed to its present 
lueation bi-lore the buildinj; of Ihe road 

tion, and was opened to Chatham Four Corners on the 21st 
of December, 1841. Eastward from Chatham the Western 
company continued to use the tramway of the Hudson and 
Berkshire road, but were obliged to exercise the greatest 
care in passing their heavier trains over the frail and dan- 
gerous track ; but meanwhile they were diligently at work 
upon the independent line, which would obviate the neces- 
sity of their using the Berkshire road. This was com- 
pleted and opened Sept. 12, 1842. 

Columbia county had now achieved direct railroad com- 
munication with the capitals of both New York and Mas- 
sachusetts ; but proud, and justly proud, as she was of this 
communication, her roads of that day bore but faint re- 
semblance to those of her present system, with their rock- 
ballasted beds, steel tracks, superb equipment, and ceaseless 

The Hudson and Berkshire road was not prosperous, and 
eventually those who had so freely and generously sub- 
scribed in aid of the enterprise lost the entire amount of 
their investment. The road received State assistance in 
1840 to the amount of $150,000, secured to the State by 
mortgage, and in December, 1847, was further authorized 
by law to issue $175,000 in bonds, which should take pre- 
cedence of the State's claim against the road, on condition 
that the stockholders should raise an additional $30,000 by 
assessments on their stock; the object of the raising of these 
sums by loan and assessment being the laying of a new T-rail 
in place of the old strap-rail. This was done in 1848, and 
new locomotives and cars were purchased, in the hope that 
the road might prosper ; but these hopes were not realized. 
In January, 1853, it was leased to George H. Power and 
Shepherd Kiiapp, who operated it until Nov. 21, 1834. 
It was then sold by James M. Cook, comptroller of the State, 
on foreclosure, for non-payment of the loan received from 
the State. The road and its appurtenances were purchased 
by Chester W. Chapin, president of the Western railroad of 
Massachusetts (now. the Boston and Albany railroad), for 
$155,000. The road was soon after re-organized, placed 
under the same management with the Boston and Albany 
railroad, and has been successfully operated by that corpo- 
ration until the present time. 

Under the management of Messrs. Power and Knapp 
the business was doubled in less than two year.s, and during 
the period from 1852 to 1873 the coal traflic of the road 
had increased from 500 tons to 250,000 tons per year ; but 
in consequence of the general depression in business, and 
the establishing of other lines, the yearly coal tonnage had 
fallen off from the amount named in 1873 to 190,000 tons 
in 1877. But the road is still prosperous. It is well man- 
aged, and is of great advantage to the city of Hudson and 
to the county. 


The merchants and business men of this State, being fully 
conscious of the advantages which the opening of the 
Western railroad from Albany to Boston would give to the 
last-named city in the contest for commercial supremacy, 
began as early as 1 830 to canvass the project of connecting 
by rail the cities of Albany and New York ; but it was 
thought ncccs-sary to lay the route at a distance from the 



river, and to depend considerably on the traffic to be gained 
from western Massachusetts and Connecticut. The idens 
which then prevailed on that subject are made apparent in 
the proceedings of a raih'oad convention of several Berk- 
shire towns, held Oct. 10, 1831, and presided over by 
Lemuel Pomeroy, and which adopted a preamble and reso- 
lution as follows : " Whereas, the citizens of New York 
and Albany, with characteristic enterprise and intelligence, 
already appreciate the wonderful advantages which within 
a few months have been practically developed by the railway 
system, and are now about to make a railroad from the city 
of Albany to the city of New York ; and whereas, it is 
well understood to be the true policy of the cities of New 
Y''ork and Albany, if it shall be found practicable, without 
materially increasing the distance, to establish a road so far 
east of the Hudson as to avoid coinjjulitujn with (he steam- 
boat and sloop freightage thereon, but at the same time to 
secure to the railroad all the travel and transportation which 
demand greater expedition than can be obtained ori the 
river, and also to open to those cities the rich resources of 
the county of Berkshire, parts of the counties of Hamp- 
shire and Hampden, and all tlie western counties of Con- 
necticut, and that such a route will combine much greater 
resources than one on the banks of the Hudson. ... Re- 
solved, that measures of co-operation should be speedily and 
cordially adopted by the citizens of Massachusetts and Con- 

At that time, and for years after, the idea of building a 
railroad along the banks of the Hudson, from city to city, 
was thought to be absurd and unworthy to be for a moment 
entertained ; for it was argued and believed that even if 
such a road could be built through the highlands at any- 
thing like a reasonable expense (which was by no means 
thought possible) it could never hope to compete success- 
fully with the safe, swift, and elegant steamers which plied 
upon the river and monopolized its trade. 

But at length even this project began to be considered 
as possible, afterwards as practicable, and finally as impera- 
tively necessary ; this last conviction being forced by the 
stern logic of the opening of the Boston road in 1841. 
To the building of the inland route as proposed in 1831 
the people of Hudson had been wholly opposed, as tending 
to divert trade and population from their city ; but they 
heartily concurred in the new project of a river-road, and 
joined with the lower towns in their meetings held in its 
interest ; the first of these to which Hudson sent delegates 
being at Poughkeepsie, on the 17th of March, 1842. 

At a similar meeting, held at the same place, July 28, 
1846, " to advance the progress of the Hudson River rail- 
road," Mr. William H. Grant, a civil engineer, who had for 
years been engaged on the public works of the State, set 
forth in glowing language the necessity of the work and 
the danger arising from delay in its prosecution. He said 
that the Boston road had been in a great degree an experi- 
ment tried by the enterprising people of that city, but that 
its result had surprised them, as it had also amazed the 
thinking ones in New York ; that the steady and rapid an- 
nual increase which New Y'ork had before enjoyed had not 
only been entirely checked but changed to actual retrogres- 
sion by the opening of that road, and that by the same 

cause Boston had realized a gain almost exactly correspond- 
ing to the loss inflicted on New York during the four years 
in which it had been in full operation. " Look," said he, 
" at the trains of the Western railroad as they dej)art from 
the depot at East Albany, and see if they are not loaded 
down and groaning under the burden of our own products 
and the products of the west ; carrying our merchants 
and the merchants from distant States, that formerly 
thronged to New York, rapidly and en masse to the city of 
Boston. See them returning with similar burdens, sending 
them far and near, and scattering them broadcast through- 
out the country, to the exclusion of the legitimate trade of 
New York ; and this too when the channels of competition 
are all open, and the Hudson river is offering its superior 
navigation of one hundred and fifty miles, against two hun- 
dred miles of railroad over mountains and on unparalleled 
grades. But, more than all, see this only avenue to New 
York closed and hermetically sealed during one-third of 
the year,* while the whole trade of the interior and the 
west, without stint or diminution, concentrates on the city 
of Bo.ston. . . . ' Our grand canal' truly ! Why, it has 
been made subservient, with our whole canal .system and our 
railroads from Albany to BuiJalo, to the city of Bo.ston. 
Our internal resources, industry, and capital, and even our 
merchants, mechanics, and farmers, have become tributary 
to her. Look at the manufacturing establishments spring- 
ing up from Massachusetts capital, and even railroads pro- 
jected and carried into operation by it, upon our own soil. . . . 
There may be some resources upon which New York relies, 
not palpable to an unimaginative eye, but to plain, practical 
common sense there is no other than the construction of the 
Hudson River railroad. With this road well eon.structed 
and fairly in operation, she will not only be placed in a de- 
fensive position to protect her commerce from the aggres- 
sions that have been committed upon it, but she will have 
opened an iron avenue with the illimitable west, that will 
draw to her again the lion's share of its treasures. That 
she will build it, it would be folly to doubt ; and that she 
will do it speedily, I most confidently believe. The city of 
Hudson, the villages of Rhinebeck, Hyde Park, Pough- 
keepsie, Fishkill, and Peekskill, have, besides their local 
interests, a reciprocal interest with the city of New York in 
this road, and they have evinced thus far an intelligence 
and energy in regard to it which New York herself has not 

The estimate made by John B. Jervis, Esq., C.E., of 
the cost of the road (1431 miles) was $9,000,000, of which 
$3,016,500 was obtained in subscriptions to the stock, 
other sources being depended on for the remainder. Mr. 
Jervis' estimate of annual earnings was as follows : in sum- 
mer, 200,000 through passengers at $1 .50 each,t $300,000 ; 
400,000 way passengers at $0.50, $200,000. In winter, 

■■ By observations takcD during twenty years (1825 to 1844, inclu- 
sive), it was found that the river was closed by ice for an average 
period of one hundred and thirty-five days in each year. 

t The number of passengers transported on the river by the day- 
and night-boats during the year preceding the date of this estimate 
was 1,200,000. By the terms of the railroad charter, two cents per 
mile could be charged in summer and two and a half cents in winter, 
but not more than three dollars from New York to Albany in any 



freight and passengers estimated at $412,000 ; U. S. mail, 
$40,000. Total, $952,000. 

The work was vigorously prosecuted from the opening 
of the season of 1848, and it was promised that the road 
sliould be completed in two years, which, however, failed 
of accomplishment for various reasons, the principal of 
which was lack of funds, and another of which was the 
prevalence of cholera as an epidemic among the laborers 
upon the line. The road was opened for passenger travel 
to Peekskill on the 29th of September, 1849, and to New 
Hamburg, twenty-three miles farther, on the 6th of the 
following December. There were great rejoicings at Pough- 
keepsie when, upon the last day of the year 1849, the line 
was opened to that point ; but to the cities and villages 
lying farther up the prospect was not a cheering one, for 
no work had been done and no contracts awarded above 
Poughkeepsie, and, what was still worse, the treasury was 

In January, 1850, an act was passed authorizing an ad- 
dition of $1,000,000 to the stock of the company, and a 
further issue of $3,000,000 of bonds ; and the work was 
resumed in the following season, the commencement being 
made at the Albany end of the line, and pa.ssengers and 
mails* being in the mean time conveyed by stages from 
Poughkeepsie to Hudson, and thence by rail, via Chatham 
Four Corners, to Albany. 

On the 16th of June, 1851, the northern end of the 
road was opened from Albany to Hudson, where, tempo- 
rarily, the trains made connection with steamers for the 
lower terminus and for New York, the through fare being 
placed at $1.50. Nest, the road was opened to Oak Hill, 
and on the 4th of August to Tivoli. 

On the 1st of October, in the same year, the first train 
passed over the entire length of the road. One week later — 
Wednesday, Oct. 8, 1851 — came the formal opening, in- 
augurated by the passage from the metropolis to the capital 
of an excursion train, drawn by the locomotive " New 
York," and carrying the officers of the road, capitalists, 
members of the press, and distinguished citizens. An 
extra issue of the Albany Evening Journal of that date 
thus chronicles the event : " The day dawned auspiciously. 
The sun is shining brightly, and the atmosphere is balmy 
and bracing. Tbe public were on tip-toe at an early hour 
to witness the joyous jubilee in honor of the completion of 
the Hudson River railroad. It is an event well calculated 
to awaken enthusiasm. Few greater enterprises have ever 
been prosecuted in this country, and none which, in the 
outset, met more coldness and ridicule. But the men of 
iron nerve who conceived the project could not be diverted 
from their purpose by common obstacles. They persevered 
and triumplied. The great work, commenced under cir- 
cumstances the most chilling and adverse, is now completed. 
The event deserves a jubilee, as the inflexible men by whom 
it has been accomplished deserve the gratitude of the people 
of the State. The road itself will be their perpetual monu- 
ment." Concerning the rejoicings at Hudson, a newspaper 

« The Uudton Gazette of Dec. 18, 1849, rejoiced in this prospect of 
a mail service between New York and Hudson, which should make 
the entire distance in a day, as, " by present arrangement, it takes 
three days to get a letter to New York and back again." 

correspondent upon the train wrote : " At 10.29 we reached 
Hudson amid the booming of cannon and the cheering of 
thousands. There was more enthusiasm manifested here 
than at any previous stopping-place. Banners and flags 
waved in every direction, and the utmost enthusiasm pre- 
vailed.' Even the children of the Hudson Orphan Asylum 
paraded with a banner, on which was inscribed, in honor 
of the president of the road, " Boorman, the friend of the 

Arrived at Greenbush, the officials of the road, with their 
guests, and citizens more or less distinguished, — in all more 
than fourteen hundred persons, — sat down to a bountiful 
repast, furnished by the proprietors of the Delavan House. 
Speeches, sentiments, and congratulations followed ; but 
these we do not intend to reproduce, save one, the toast 
ofiered by President Boorman, " The citizens of Columbia 
county. The spirit they have manifested toward this en- 
terprise shows them worthy of the illustrious name they 
bear." It was a merited compliment, and one which will 
not soon be forgotten. 

Night closed on the festivities, and the Hudson River 
railroad was a fact accomplished. But who, among all the 
thousands who gathered on that autumn day to celebrate 
its inauguration, could have dreamed of its future colossal 
proportions and limitless power? 

The length of the Hudson River road within the county 
of Columbia is 291 niiles and 653 feet; the length of its 
track within the different towns beins as follows : 

Clermont (the lower portion) 2J 695 

Germantown 3 .338 

Clermont (the upper iiortion) 2 567 

Livingston li 7.30 

Greenport (lower part) 4 173 

Hudson city IV 448 

Greenport (upper part) li 499 

Stockport 4 654 

Stuyvesant 8i 509 

The road -received liberal subscriptions to its stock from 
the inhabitants of these towns, particularly from those of 
the city of Hudson ; notwithstanding that these last-named' 
had had a bitter experience with the stock of the Hudson 
and Berkshire road. 

The first surveys had contemplated tunneling under the 
lower part of Hudson, so as to have the railroad pass under 
Warren street, between Front and First, but this plan very 
naturally met with opposition from the citizens, which led 
to the eventual adoption of the present route along the 
front of the city. 


This railroad enters the county at Boston Corners in 
Alteram, and passes in a general northwesterly direction 
through Ancram, Copake, Hillsdale, Taghkanic, Claverack, 
and Ghent, to Chatham, where it intersects the Boston and 
Albany railroad at Chatham village. 

The company was formed in April, 1831, and commenced 
work in New York city in 1832, but did nothing north of 
Harlem river until after 1840. After that time the work 
was prosecuted slowly and finished by sections, it being 
completed and opened to Chatham Four Corners (now 
Chatham village) on the 19th of January, 1852. It is an 



important line of communication to the eastern towns 
through which its route lies. 


This road, formerly known as the Lebanon Springs rail- 
road, connects with the Harlem railroad at Chatham village, 
and passes northerly through the towns of Chatham and 
New Lebanon into Rensselaer county, of which it crosses 
a part, and, entering Vermont, connects with the Western 
railroad of that State at Bennington, 58 miles from its 
southern terminus. 

The company was organized in 1852, and work upon the 
line was commenced early in the summer of 1853, but was 
suspended a year later for financial reasons. From that 
time until 1867 little was done, but in that year Cornelius 
Vanderbilt, Horace F. Clark, and other capitalists became 
interested in the enterprise and completed the road, so that 
on the ISth of December, 1869, it was formally opened by 
an excursion train which passed through to Vermont. 

The road was intended as a connecting link in an inland 
route from New York to Montreal. The Messrs. Tilden, 
of New Lebanon, did much towards completing this line, 
which, it is said, is now doing a fair business. 


This road enters the town of Ancram from Pine Plains, 
in Dutchess county, and passes in a generally northeastern 
direction to Boston Corners, where it leaves the county and 
State. Its length in the county of Columbia is a trifle more 
than eight miles. In its commencement it was called the 
Poughkeepsie and Eastern railroad, and work was begun 
upon it in 1868, but it was not completed until the summer 
of 1872 ; the first train passing over its entire length on 
the 1st of August in that year. Its existence is advan- 
tageous to the mines and manufacturing interests of the 
town of Ancram, with the history of which it is more fully 


passes north from Dutchess county into the town of Galla- 
tin, of which it crosses the southeast corner into Ancram, 

crosses that town, and intersects the Poughkeepsie, Hartford 
and Boston road at Boston Cornens. This road has about 
12f miles of track within the county, and it was completed 
and opened for travel in the summer of 1874. 



uf I'opulatii 

ad Wealth— Agricultural S. 

The statistics of the census returns for Columbia county 
make the following exhibit of the population of the terri- 
tory now included in the county limits at the respective dates 
given. In 1714: the returns were as follows : 

Claverack, 1 male above 60 years; 52 males between 16 
and 60 years ; 54 males under 16 years ; 1 female above 
60 ; 38 females between 16 and 60 ; 51 females under 16 ; 
10 male and 5 female slaves above 16; and two of each 
sex under 16. 

Kinderhook, 5 males and 6 females over 60 years ; 75 
males and 57 females between 16 and 60 ; 83 males and 67 
females under 16; 12 male and 7 female slaves over 16; 
and 6 male and 7 female slaves under 1 6. 

Coxsackie and the north part of Livingston manor, 6 
males and two females over 60 years ; 48 males and, 53 fe- 
males between 16 and 60 ; 52 males and 28 females under 
16 ; 26 male and 11 female slaves over 16 ; and 10 male 
and 6 female slaves under 16 years. 

In 1720, " Gerret Van Schaijck, high sheriff" of the city 
and county of Albany, " by order of the court of judica- 
ture held for province of New York, June 11, 1720," re- 
turned an enumeration of freeholders in the county, from 
which it appears that in Kinderhook and a part of the 
manor of Livingston there were 38, in the north part 
of Livingston there were 28, and in Claverack 35 free- 

The population by towns from 1790 to 1875 is shown by 
the following table : 





































2,805 ■ 

Chatham ..... 

ckMuic'nt. .'.'.'.'.'.■.'.'.■".'.'..',■.■;.";!; 









" 2d " 

:::i :"" 

3d " 

" 4th " 

Total city 







New Lebanon : 







In penal institution 




In 1875, the native-born population of tlae county num- 
bered 41,845, and the foreign-born 5776. Of these people, 
46,370 were white and 1251 colored, of whom 23,289 
were males, and 24,332 were females, 1435 being aliens. 
Of the males 13,128 were of the voting age, — over twenty- 
one years, — of whom 10,486 were native-born, and 1960 
naturalized, and 682 were aliens; 9104 males were of the 
military age, — between 18 and 45 ; 6254 males and 6224 
females were of the school age, — between 5 and 18 ; 5538 
were freeholders ; and 785 of the voting age were unable to 
read and write. 

There were 8592 dwellings in the county, of which 8037 
were frame, 493 were brick, 53 stone, and 9 were the primi- 
tive log cabins of the pioneer, the value of which was returned 
at §13,610,592,— the frames being $10,990,347, the brick 
$2,476,000, the stone 8143,815, and the cabins at $430 ; 
52 were returned at less than $50, 121 between $50 and 
$100, 752 between $100 and $250, 2704 between $250 
and $1000, 2004 between $1000 and $2000, 1948 between 
$2000 and $5000, 392 between $5000 and $10,000, and 
129 over $10,000. Of the latter, Canaan had 1, Chatham 
5, Claverack 4, Clermont 6, Copake 1, Ghent 1, Greenport 
5, Hudson 76, Kinderhook 12, Livingston 1, New Leba- 
non 13, Stockport and Stuyvesant 2 each. The population 
was divided into 10,121 families, inhabiting 8478 dwellings, 
averaging 4JjjL persons to each family, and 5^^jj persons 
to each inhabited house. The area of the county is 688 
square miles, and there were 69.22 persons, 14.71 families, 
and 12.49 dwellings to a square mile, and 9.25 acres to 
each person. The average value of house accommodation 
to each fiimily was $1333.03. 

On the 11th of June, 1757, Governor Tryon reported 
to the Lords of Trade, " There are few mines discovered in 
the Province. One, of Iron Ore, in the Manor of Living- 
ston, belonging to Robert Livingston, Esquire ; another, of 
Iron also, in Orange county, the properly of Vincent Mat- 
thews, Esquire ; and one in the Manor of Philipsburgh. 
Tlie works belonging to the First [Livingston] are carried 
out to great advantage." Such was the condition of iron 
mines and manufactures in the province in 1757 ; there 
were but three mines discovered, and but one of these was 
worked, which was that of Mr. Livingston. And in all 
the province there was but one manufactory of iron, which 
was also that of Mr. Livingston ; both the mine and the 
works being in the present county of Columbia. 

The iron-works of Mr. Livingston were erected in 1748, 
" at a place called Sober," but.wiiich was more frequently 
termed "Anchoram," being in the present town of Ancram. 
A return, made to the Lords of Trade in 1857, of the pro- 
duct of those works during the years 1750 to 1756, in- 
clusive, shows as follows : 

IRON (prBSumiibly pig). 
1 Cwt. Qre. Ll.s. 
I'iO 4i X 3 13 

I'jl MIO 6 3 17 

17'>2 ill 7 3 

175-5 22 9 2 

17,')0 195 164 

1752 183 

1302 8 66 15 21 

On the 23d of June, 1755, Mr. Livingston, in a letter 
which he wrote in reference to a raid of anti-renters who 
had despoiled his works and carried away some of the 
workmen, said, " It has put it out of my power to furnish 
Messrs. Banker & Dire hitherto with the Carriage-wheels, 
and Mr. William i\lexander with the quantity of Shot I 
engaged to deliver him for the Expedition to Onjagera [Ni- 
agara] and Crown Point ; and yet, notwithstanding this ill- 
treatment I have received, as I had the expedition very much 
at heart, I ordered my Furnace, as soon as I came from New 
York, to be Immediately repaired at a great Expence of 
upwards of £400, that I might still be able to furnish the 
Shott, etc., as soon as my workmen returned, that the Expe- 
dition might not be retarded ; and I have now had her in 
good order since Monday last, but no workmen yett ;" — 
which in itself explains that the much larger weight of 
castings returned for 1755 was for the reason that the works 
were then furnishing cannon-balls for the army. 

During the Revolutionary war another member of that 
patriotic family of Livingston (Judge Robert R.,* the father 
of the chancellorj furnished the American government with 
munitions of war from a powder-mill which he put in oper- 
ation near his residence in Clermont, but of whose amount 
of production we have no definite account. 

On Sauthier's map (January, 1778) the following-named 
mills are noted within the manor of Livingston, viz. : 

Grist and saw-mills near the manor-house, on north bank 
of RoeloiF Jansen's Kill. 

The " Mill Good Hope," on the same stream, near the 
present village of Bingham's Mills. 

Grist and saw-mills on same kill, in present town of Gal- 
latin, about three miles below Copake forge and furnace. 

The forge, furnace, grist and saw-mills at Ancram. 

" Unity Mills," on same stream, at outlet of Robinson's 
pond, in Copake. 

Grist-mill on same stream, two and one-half miles above 
last mentioned. 

"Grist-mill Defiance," in Ancram, on "Punch Brook," 
a tributary of Roelofi' Jansen's Kill, and about three miles 
above their confluence. 

" Mill Success," on Copake creek, west of Copake lake. 

" Maryburgh Forge" (marked ;is " in ruins"), on Copake 
creek, site of the new forge. 

" Mill Support," in the northeast part of Livingston, on 
Copake creek. 

" Mill Revenge," on " Doove Kill," outlet of Lake Char- 

Grist-mill in southwest corner of Germantown, on small 
stream entering Hudson river. 

•■' Judge Livingston died about the 
the powder-mill was continued in operat 

it of the war, but 
by his son John R, 



The first paper-mill erected in the county was one built 
at Stuyvesant fells, on the Kinderhook creek, in 1802, by 
Messi-s. Pitkins and Edmonds,* an old grist-mill at the 
upper fells being transformed into one. In 1802, George 
Chittenden bought this mill, from which has probably arisen 
the statement that Mr. Chittenden was the builder of it. 

The first cotton-factory was built, in 1813, by Nathaniel 
Wilde and his brother, " two enterprising Yorkshircmen," 
who gave out their cotton to be carded by the farmers' 
wives and daughters. 

The first cotton print (calico) works were built, in 1828, 
by Benjamin and Joseph Marshall, at Stockport village. 

An oil-mill was established by Judah Paddock one mile 
east of Columbiaville, about 1805. 

The census of 1840 gives the following exhibit of the 
industries of the county, other than agriculture, at that 
date : Manufactures — iron — 5 furnaces made 915 tons east- 
iron ; 2 forges made 150 tons bars; 1372 tons coal used; 
98 men and $51,500 capital employed. Stone — 17 men; 
$1000 capital; value of product, $10,900. Machinery 
manufactured — 58 employees ; $72,500, value of product. 
Small arms — 5 men. Marble — $500, value of product ; 1 
man. Brick and lime — 27 men ; $8100, value of product. 
Wool— 28 fulling-mills, 19 factories, 181 men, and $93,450 
capital; value of manufactured goods, $139,000. Cotton — 
11 factories, 18,256 spindles, 1 calico-printing fectory, 760 
persons, and $893,300 capital employed ; value of manu- 
factured goods, $475,440. Silk— 3 male and 2 female 
operatives ; $500 capital ; 9 pounds made ; value, $85. 
Mixed manufactures — 19 operatives; $6300 capital; 
$17,800 product. Tobacco— 2 operatives ; $1000 capital ; 
$3500, value of manufactured goods. Hats and caps — 36 
operatives; $16,450 capital; product, $50,546. Ten tan- 
neries — 89 operatives; $24,550 capital; 1200 sides sole, 
5790 sides upper, manufactured. Nineteen other leather- 
manufactories, saddleries, etc. — $33,500 capital ; $49,700, 
value of product. Soap and candles — ^12 operatives; 
$12,000 capital; 164,000 pounds, 46,000 pounds tallow 
candles, 60,000 sperm and wax candles manufactured. 
Two distilleries — 15,800 gallons ; 1 brewery, 15,000 gal- 
lons; 10 operatives; $35,300 capital. $8800 value drugs 
and medicines manufactured ; 8 operatives ; $1000 capital. 
Four paper-mills — $9500, value of product ; 16 operatives ; 
$18,000 capital. Four printing-ofiices, 1 bindery, 3 weekly 
newspapers, 2 periodicals — 18 operatives; $7000 capital. 
Wagons and carriages — 182 operatives; $52,650 capital; 
$76,450, value of manufactured articles. Twelve fluuring- 
mills — 18,250 barrels flour; 39 grist-mills ; 41 saw-mills; 
$170,275, value of product; 62 operatives ; $196,200 cap- 
ital. Furniture — $42,800, value of manufactured goods ; 
80 operatives; $16,400 capital. Sixteen brick orstone, and 
76 wooden houses built; 216 men employed; $138,340, 
value of construction ; $38,680, value of all other manu- 
factured articles; capital invested, $18,500. Total capital 
invested in manufactures, $1,457,050. Fisheries — 37,075 
gallons spermaceti oil ; whale and other fish-oils, 277,200 
gallons ; value of whalebone and other product of fisheries, 
$147,800 ; 304 men and $330,000 capital employed. Men 

* Father of Hon. John W. Edmonds. 

employed in commerce, 400, and in internal transportation, 
184; capital, $156,500. One commission house in foreign 
trade — $14,000 capital. Retail stores of various cliusses of 
goods, 228; capital $679,200. Seven lumber-yards— $36,000 
capital. Productof forests— lumber, $3400. In 1860 there 
were 15 paper-mills and 8 cotton-factories in the county. 

The census of 1875 makes no returns whatever of man- 
ufactures or commerce. The census of 1870 makes the 
following exhibit of manufactures : There were 483 estab- 
lishments of all kinds, — 28 steam (1523 horse-power), 131 
water (3493 horse-power); 3551 operatives, — 2437 males 
over 16, 742 females over 15, and 372 youth ; $5,033,505 
capital employed; $3,960,371 value of materials used; 
$6,737,568 value of products. These were classed as follows : 






Pro- ■ 




















l;i. ,,.| .iiri .1 1,. 1 l.;ikerj' 




66 588 


Bi^ck "i...^ ........'.'. 




' 9,725 






C^Ha'ses" am'l wagoiis.'".' 



CL.ttiiiif;, mcnV.,. 












1,l,-.7 9:iS 

]" '■ /■ ,■ '" '''* 


': i ■ ' ' 

,' ' ,' ' 


J 1,000 

,/''" '"' "" 


,-, 1 ■ 












Ih'-I, r, ' " '.'.''.''''. 


I;.l.,;,i:. :,-. i ^ l"^"'™" 






Iluli, liiRs 






Iron castings (not speci- 

fied) !.... 
















Lumber, SiiweJ 



















l'.i|i,.i ,i,,,| .',',, ,11, ill 











j.„, ," ' ''■''"' ' ■"■■■".■■■ 











's!i,h,',iV,'.i>,' ;i[i',i I'hii'as'!'! 






iron ware...].. .-. 


48 800 

11, iv; 



Toliacco and cigars 

Woolen goods 





'l '■,;'■■! 


Mining— iron ore 


stone quari-y 







The census returns of Columbia county for the year 1840 
show that there were 28,149 bushels wheat produced in previ- 
ous year, 1971 bushels barley, 1,107,702 bushels oats, 323,- 
299 bushels rye, 97,733 bushels buckwheat, 412,032 bushels 
corn, 242,777 pounds wool, 50 pounds hops, 377 pounds 
wax, 560,819 bushels potatoes, 56,213 tons hay, 2 pounds 
silk cocoons, 839 pounds sugar, 11,273 cords of wood sold, 
$201,566 dairy products, $30,506 orchard products, 34 
gallons wine, $31,282 value of home-made or family goods, 
$9900 value of market garden products, $100 florists' pro- 
ducts, $29,606 value of poultry ; there were in the county 
9064 horses, 32,699 neat cattle, 123,063 sheep, 54,911 hogs. 

In 1855, 3242 persons in the county made returns of 
farms, with 304,277 acres improved, and 69,255 acres 
unimproved. Value of fiirms, $19,130,749; live-stock, 
$1,858,418; tools and implements, $620,449. 

t Steam, 1 horse-power ; water, 4 horse-power. 

X Above ground, 7 men; under ground, 15 men. § 7000 tons. 


The census of 1875 shows the following agricultural 
exhibit : 


Improved acres, 315,112, unimproved, 50,319 woodland, 
11,786 other lands; value of farms, $23,453,394; farm 
buildings other than dwellings, $3,546,295 ; stock, $2,217,- 
390 ; tools and implements, $965,384 ; cost of fertilizers 
bought in 1874, $18,753; amount of gross sales from 
farms in 1874, $2,444,012 ; area plowed "in 1874,92,457 
acres; 1875, 77,412; grasslands, pasturage, 1874, 87,048 
acres; 1875, 90,464 acres; 104,220 acres mown 1874; 
105,082 acres 1875; hay produced 1874, 122,609 tons; 
grass-seed, 1874, 535 bushels; barley, acres sown, 36 in 
1874, 40 iu 1875 ; bushels produced in 1874, 699 ; buck- 
wheat, 7042 acres, 86,083 bushels ; 4038 acres, 1875 ; corn, 

1874, 17,493 acres, 315,430 bushels; 1875, 17,835 acres; 
oats, 1874, 27,624 acres, 627,614 bushels ; 1875, 30,418 
acres; rye, 1874, 44,813 acres, 521,155 bushels; 1875, 
39,952 acres; spring wheat, 1874, 3 acres, 14 bushels; 

1875, 2 acres; winter wheat, 1873, 21 acres; 1874, 54 
acres, 363 bushels; corn sown for fodder, 1874, 245 acres; 
1875, 153 acres; beans, 1874, 06 acres, 706 bushels; 1875, 
75 acres; peas, 1874, 6 acres, 103 bushels; 1875, 6 acres; 
hops, 1874, 28 acres, 6920 pounds; 1875, 27 acres; pota- 
toes, 1874, 9579 acres, 664,591 bushels; 1875, 11,510 
acres; tobacco, 1874,280 acres; 1875, 200 acres ; apple- 
orchards, 1874, 258,075 trees, fruit, 342,338 bushels, 
cider, 10,441 barrels; grapes, 1874, 403,292 pounds, 
1 307 gallons wine made ; maple-sugar, 1875, 485 pounds, 
and 210 gallons syrup made; honey collected 1874, 14,459 
pounds; horses on farms, colts of 1875, 371 ; do. of 1874, 
362 ; 2 years old and over, 9295 ; mules on farms, 1875, 
103; poultry, value owned 1875, $73,856; value sold 
1874, $34,226 ; value eggs sold 1874, $42,467 ; neat cattle 
on farms, 1875, heifers, 977 2 years old, 1384 yearlings, 
1749 calves, 854 bulls of all ages, 1935 working oxen and 
steers; milch-cows, 1874, 12,084; 1875, 12,414; cattle 
slaughtered in 1874, 949 ; dairy products, cows whose milk 
was sent to factory 1874, 12; 1875, 4; butter made in 
families 1874, 1,157,267 pounds; milk sold in market 
1874, 482,482 gallons; cheese made in families 1874, 
9386 pounds; sheep, number shorn 1874,29,271; 1875, 
32,303; weight of clip 1874, 134,054 pounds; 1875, 
149,452 pounds; lambs raised 1874, 19,211 ; 1875, 22,119; 
slaughtered 1874, 1576 ; killed by dogs, 266 ; swine, pigs 
of 1875, 15,446; of 1874 and older, 15,051 ; slaughtered 
on farms 1874, 13,438; pork made on farms 1874, 
2,633,138 pounds. 

Of farms of all sizes there were 3534, the area of whicii 
was as follows: 424 under 3 acres, 311 between 3 and 10 
acres, 171 between 10 and 20, 304 between 20 and 50, 544 
between 50 and 100, 1768 between 100 and 500, 10 between 
500 and 1000, and 2 over 1000 acres. There was an in- 
crease of farms of all sizes over the returns of 1870 of 
562 ; 422 of the increase being on farms under 3 acres, 109 
between 3 and 10 acres, 17 between 10 and 20, 11 between 
20 and 50, 132 between 100 and 500, and 2 over 1000 
acres. The farms between 50 and 100 acres decreased 137. 

The number of sheep .shorn, weight of clip, and average 

weight of fleeces for the years 1855, 1864, 1865, 1874, 
and 1875, were as follows : 

N™>^"- v:^ vlunS: 

1S55 81,064 2Gr.368 3.30 

186-t S0,262 311,847 3.89 

1865 42,209 196,610 4.00 

1874 29,271 134,054 4.58 

1875 32,302 144,452 4.63 

The average yield per acre of the principal crops in 1874 
was as follows: Tons hay, 1.18; bushels barley, 19.42; 
buckwheat, 12.22; corn, 18.03; oats, 22.72; rye, 16.63; 
spring wheat, 4.67 ; winter wheat, 17.29 ; hops, 247.14 
(pounds) ; potatoes, 69.38. 

Although the soil of the county has to some extent be- 
come exhausted by a peculiar system of agriculture, it is 
unquestionable that, originally, it was unsurpassed in pro- 
ductive qualities by that of any section of the fertile State 
of New York. 

When Hudson came, he found that the Indians, even by 
their slovenly methods, produced not only maize, of which 
he saw at one place " enough to load three ships," but they 
had also beans, pumpkins, flax, and a variety of other prod- 
ucts, and all in abundance. He also found apple, plum, and 
mulberry-trees ; and Indian orchards of the fonner still ex- 
isted as late as the commencement of the present century 
in Ghent, and at other points in the county. 

The Dutch settlers found the soil exceedingly productive, 
as we have before mentioned ; and that they raised and 
shipped wheat in large quantities is evidenced by the 
journal of the Labadist brethren who came here in the 
seventeenth century. Now, wheat is almost unknown, but, 
instead, waving fields of rye may everywhere be seen 
throughout the county ; and this, by those whose opinions 
should be entitled to weight, is said to be a more profitable 
crop than the wheat, which it has superseded. 

It is found that the soil and climate of the county are 
excellently adapted to the production of fruit, and its cultiva- 
tion is on the increase, with the best results. It is believed 
that the first Newtown pippins ever seen in England (and 
it is the apple which to-day takes precedence of all others 
in the English market) were raised in what is now Colum- 
bia county ; for it is known that, as early as 1767, Robert 
Livingston (the third lord) sent a barrel of that variety to 
England, where their beauty and delicious flavor elicited 
notices of the highest approbation. 

Several members of the Livingston family have at va- 
rious times taken great interest in matters of agriculture. 
It is said that the famous Merino sheep were first intro- 
duced into America by Chancellor Livingston, who, it is 
known, imported some exceedingly fine ones about the year 
1801. They were procured by him from the celebrated 
flock of Rambouillet in France, and it was estimated that, 
in the year 1812, 60,000 of the descendants of his importa- 
tion were iu the United States, — the flock at Clermont alone 
at that time numbering about one thousand. Horatio 
Gates SpaflFord, in his Gazetteer of Columbia County, pub- 
lished about 1823, says, " Unfortunately for themselves and 
the country, the farmers have overvalued and undervalued 
in quick succession the Merino sheep, the subject of so much 
speculation, profit, loss, and twofold regrets ;" but after 
diligent inquiry we have been unable to learn that these 


sheep were ever raised to any great extent in this county, 
with the exception of the Livingston iiock, and tliat of 
Beriah Pease, at his " Fonda farm," upon what is now 
called Mount Merino from the fact that he kept there a 
fine flock of those sheep. The raising of the ordinary 
breeds of sheep, however, has in past times been entered 
into extensively, but lias now greatly fallen off, though the 
average weight of wool produced, per sheep, has steadily 
increased, and was greater in 1875 than in any year pre- 
viously reported. 

The earliest reference which we find to the introduction 
of labor-saving agricultural machinery in Columbia county 
was in the year 1806, being an advertisement in the Colum- 
bia Balance of January 28 in that year. Following is a copy : 

"The subscriber, finding the principle of his P.itent Threshing 
Machine highly approved of in many parts whore they have been 
well built; but being sensible they have not gone so generally into 
use as might be expected, owing to inexperienced workmen being em- 
ployed, and want of proper materials in erecting them; He there- 
fore has proposed, and now informs those Farmers who may think it 
an object to make application, that he will have them built in Hud- 
son, under his own inspection, and will warrant them to extract at the 
rate of 50 to 60 bushels per day ; that they shall answer every reason- 
able expectation, or the purchaser may return them at any time within 
one year. Having provided proper materials for that purpose, he 
flatters himself that some patriotic Farmers will embrace the favor- 
able opportunity. The machines may be easily conveyed on a wagon 
or sled. Price, §100. 

"C. HoxiE. 

" HiTDSON, January, 1800." 

It is claimed that the first mowing-machine was invented 
and constructed by a Mr. Beal, of Spencertowu, in the town 
of Austerlitz, between 1830 and 1810. It is mentioned 
that " it had a straight scythe, and was at least a good ex- 
periment in the right direction." 

The first agricultural society of which we find mention 
was the " Agricultural Association of Dutchess and Colum- 
bia Counties," of which General Jacob Rutsen Van Rens- 
selaer was the secretary in 1817. In that year the associa- 
tion held a fair and cattle show " at Loop's, in Red Hook," 
at which the premiums offered amounted to $200, being in 
part as follows : 

For the best five acres Winter Wheat, to be harvested in 1818 $25 

" " " acre of Potatoes, 1817 15 

" " " five acres of Indian corn 25 

" " " five acres B.irley 20 

" " " pair of Pigs, four to nine months old 15 

We have made considerable research in order to discover 
the names of the fortunate ones to whom were awarded the 
premiums, but without success. Neither are we able to 
trace the subsequent history of the association. 


Owing to the loss or misplacement of the old records of 
the society, the exact date of the organization of the County 
Agricultural Society has not been determined. It held its 
meetings for many years in Hudson, and about 1855 was 
removed to Chatham. The fair of 1877 was the thirty- 
seventh annual one. In 1856 the society purchased fifteen 
acres of ground at that village, paying $2400 therefor, and 
in 1858 a horse fair was held. In 1859 the following 
officers were elected : Peter P. Jlesick, president ; Peter E. 
Van Alstyne, vice-president ; Hiram D. Ford, secretary ; 
Henry K. Coburn, treasurer; John T. Hogeboom, William 

D. Steward, Waterman Lippett, Elisha W. Bushnell, Bart- 
lett S. Marshall, William R. Mesick, executive committee. 
A fair was held September 28-30, 1859, at which the re- 
ceipts were $2057.39, and the expenses $1930.15. In 1865 
additional lands were bought, and in 1866 a new floral hall 
was built. In 1 808 more land was bought, the price paid 
being $3000. Besides the annual fairs, several spring 
exhibitions of horses, sheep shearings, etc., have been held. 
The receipts and disbursements since and including 1859 
have been as follows : 

Receipts. Disbursements. 

1859 $2,057.39 $1.9:iO.I5 

1800 1,080.:!G ],2S4.S9 

1801 I,4:i7.00 1,427.70 

1802 1,059.18 7il9.:jfi 

1803 2,:!4S.40 1,747.11 

1804 2,125.91 2,444.01 

1805 2.927.19 H,4:!7.97 

1866 3,822.48 3.790.8(1 

1867 4,909.45 6.587.39 

1870 1,701.26 1,501.00 

1871 2,841.46 3,018.53 

1S72 1,302.63 889.71 

1873 1,420.50 (prems.) 582.75 

1874 1,686.38 " 1,516.36 

1875 1,733.60 " 1,046.00 

1876 1,399.43 " 1,051.00 

1877 1,727.93 " 1,177.50 

Total $35,013.15 $33,632.83 

In 1868 the gate fees were $2732.25 ; premiums paid, 
$2970.42 ; $1000 being paid for horse premiums. The 
State appropriations have been about $325 annually for 
several years past. 

The presidents and secretaries of the society since 1859 
have been as follows : 

Presidents. — Peter F. Mesick, John T. Hogeboom, Na- 
than S. Ashley, Peter S. Pulver, Staats D. Tompkins, J. 
Wesley Jones, Lewis F. Payne, Stephen G. Bushnell, 
George L. Morris, Isaac M. Pitts, John D. Shufeldt, Sil- 
vester Van Deusen, J. N. Garner. 

Secretaries. — Hiram D. Ford, Abraham Ashley, E. 
Backus, Charles A. Belden, Nathan H. Thomas, A. Ash- 
ley, Jr., Joseph P. Hogeboom, H. M. Ford, J. Wesley 
Jones, Charles H. Beale, James Smith, Charles E. Clark, 
W. H. Ten Broeck. 

Officers for 187S.—S. Van Deusen, president; P. F. 
Mesick, vice-president ; J. W. Boright, secretary ; W. H. 
Ten Broeck, treasurer; Directors: John Harmon, P]zra 
Lasher, term expires 1879 ; H. C. Pinson, G. L. Morris, 
term expires 1880 ; James Bain, M. L. Hanor, term 
expires 1881. 


was incorporated March 4, 1861, and has its grounds just 
outside the limits of Hudson City, where it holds its exhi- 
bitions. The incorporators were J. Van Ness Philip, 
Henry S. Van De Carr, Peter Bogardus, George H. Power, 
P. S. Wynkoop, Samuel T. Du Bois, P. P. Rossman, R. B. 
Shepard, F. A. Gifford. The capital stock was $12,000, 
at $10 per share. The first officers were as follows : Henry 
S. Van De Carr, president ; Silas W. Tobey, Samuel A. 
Miller, David Crapser, Hiram P. Hoysradt, David Miller, 
vice-presidents ; Robert B. Shepard, treasurer ; Frederick 
A. Gifford, secretary ; Directors, George H. Power and 
Samuel T. Du Bois, 1860-64; Peter S. Wynkoop, Peter 



Bogardus, 1860-65 ; Peter P. Rossman, William A. Car- 
penter, 1860-GG. 

On June 11, 1860, the directors voted to purchase 
grounds, and appointed committees for purchase, and sur- 
vey and grading, and on buildings. The Mellen lot was 
purchased, and buildings were erected on the plan of those 
of the Troy Agricultural Society. In 1860 the first fair 
was held, and was reported by the press as " a splendid suc- 
cess," with a " larger and finer display of stock than ever 
exhibited before in the county," and also a " very fine ex- 
hibition of agricultural implements." The attendance was 
very large. The second fair was held Sept. 25-27, 1861, 
the receipts of which were $2200.62. Annual fairs and 
annual horse shows have been held every year since the 
first year, 1860. In 1866 the receipts were $5587.57, and 
the premiums paid were 1263. In 1867 the capital stock 
was increased $15,000, and in 1868 additional grounds 
were bought. In 1869 a new building, 16 by 16 feet, two 
stories, was built. In 1870 the Hood property was bought 
at $5000, and the covered amphitheatre built at a cost of 
$1186.50. In 1873 a portion of the Hood property, some 
4 acres and over, was sold for $2500. In 1876 Floral 
Hall was burned, and a new one erected at a cost of $5000. 
The new hall is 50 by 150 feet, 45 feet high in the clear, 
and surmounted with a cupola, from which a charming view 
of the surrounding country is obtained. The grand stand 
has a capacity of 2500 covered seats. A fine half-mile 
track is inclosed within the grounds, and well-built stalls for 
cattle and horses, sheds for sheep and swine, coops for fowls, 
and rooms for agricultural implements, attest the successful 
management of the association and its popularity. The 
grounds, some 25 acres in area, are kept in fine condition, 
as are all of the buildings. The latter are not excelled by 
any county society, and equaled by few. 

The receipts of the last foir— 1877— were $3850, and 
premiums paid amounted to $1700. 

The presidents and secretaries have been as follows since 
the organization of the society : 

Presidents. — Henry S. Van De Carr, 1860-61, and 
1863-68; Jacob W. Hoysradt, 1869-78. 

Sea-etanes.—Fredk. A. Gifford, 1 860-64 ; John C. Hoge- 
boom, 1864-65 ; Chas. W. Macy, 1866-75 ; W. H. Traver, 

The present officers are : 

Jacob W. Hoysradt, president ; H. S. Van Do Carr, S. 
T. Du Bois, H. W. Rogers, I. W. Tobey, Lemuel Holmes, 
vice-presidents ; B. S. Johnson, treasurer ; W. H. Traver, 
secretary ; Cyrus Macy, John E. Gillette, D. M. Haviland, 
T. H. Gantley, Richard Kidney, Cyrus Groat, directors. 

THE farmers' union ASSOCIATION, 
which has its headquarters at East Chatham, was organized 
March 20, 1874, with Ira A. Smith as president; H. W. 
Ellsworth, vice-president ; A. C. Bradley, secretary ; Jay N. 
Preston, treasurer ; George S. Harger, salesman ; C. C. 
Campbell, superintendent ; and now has forty-five members, 
mostly farmers. The principal object of the association 
was to enable its members to secure, at the least expense, 
an advantageous market for their products, more especially 
hay and straw. For that purpose they erected in the 

village of East Chatham, during the summer of 1874, a 
building forty by one hundred feet in size, in which to press 
and store hay and straw, using the " P. K. Dederick Per- 
petual Baling Press," run by a six-horse steam-engine, and 
able to press from ten to fifteen tons per day. 

The association presses and markets about two thousand 
tons of hay and straw yearly, and has made East Chatham 
one of the best hay-markets in the county. It also enables 
its members to purchase coal, seed, flour, and other articles 
at wholesale, and to save largely on commissions by so doing. 
It is not organized under the State Grange of Patrons of 
Husbandry, but is an independent organization, in which 
its members are general partners. The cost of its building 
and fixtures was $4500, and the Boston and Albany Rail- 
road company has laid tracks to it, so that the labor of load- 
ing upon cars is reduced to a minimum. 

The present officers of the association are Ira C. Smith, 
president ; H. W. Ellsworth, vice-president ; A. C. Bradley, 
secretary ; Jay N. Preston, treasurer and superintendent ; 
George S. Harger, salesman. 

The economical pressing, baling, and shipment of hay 
and straw are items to be considered by the farmers of this 
county, as hay and rye form two of the chief agricultural 
products. Vast quantities of unpressed straw are sold to 
the numerous paper-manufactories of the county, but large 
quantities are likewise required to be baled ; and nearly all 
the hay product is sold in that condition. Besides these 
two, the other principal crops produced by the fiirmers of 
the county are oats, potatoes, and Indian corn. The slaly 
soils are thought the best for the production of rye, but the 
limestone lands are preferred for most other crops. " Granite 
and granular limestone give the constituents of the soils on 
and among the Taghkanics, whilst graywacke and blue 
limestone, much of which is shelly, and much metalliferous, 
superimposed on slate, form the very various soils of the 
remainder." Nearly the whole of the county belongs to the 
transition formation ; the prevailing rocks are the Hudson 
river shales. Nature has furnished abundant store of lime- 
stone as a means of tempering such soils as are cold and 
clayey, and in many places the lime in the form of marl 
requires no burning to form a stimulant. 

Professor W. W. Mather, in his report on the geology 
of New York, remarked as follows concerning the useful- 
ness of marl as a fertilizer : 

" Shell or lake marl, so very useful on some soils as a 
manure, is continually forming. It is abundant in some 
parts of the district, more particularly in that which forms 
the valley of the Hudson. . . . The value of fresh-water 
shell-marl is well known among our intelligent farmers; 
but few know it when they see it, and still fewer know in 
what situations to seek it." He mentions, however, only 
seven different points where he discovered it in Columbia 
county, viz. : in a pond four miles north of Kinderhook 
(sixty acres) ; at a point (which he had not visited) one or 
two miles west of Maiden ; Crysler's pond, Copake, seven 
acres; Rhoda pond, Copake, ten acres; Woodward's pond, 
Copake, eight acres ; Hillsdale, in pond on Mrs. Burton's 
farm ; and on lands of Mr. Mitchell and Judge Loop. To 
identify the two last-named points it will be necessary to re- 
member that the professor's report was made in the year 1843. 



State Loans and United States Deposit Funds. 
Public moneys were first raised in the colony of New 
York, June 1, 1665, by warrant issued by the governor, 
Colonel Nicolls, to the sheriff and collectors.* It would 
appear that antecedent to this time the towns and counties 
raised moneys for their own use, but the precise mode is 
not known. A tax called a " benevolence" was raised on 
the inhabitancs, as appears from a letter from Governor 
Andross, and Smith observes " this proceeding was a badge 
of bad times." In 1683, the first regular system of taxa- 
tion by law was adopted. The wars of England with 
European nations, especially with the French, plunged the 
colony into an enormous debt, most burdensome to the 
inhabitants. From 1691 to 1 709 the sum of £61,861 was 

raised by the colonists for building forts, raising and paying 
troops, and for other war purposes, besides the excise tax of 
a penny in the pound for the ordinary and incidental 
charges of the colony. Before 1776 the colonists were 
obliged to pay nearly £1,000,000 sterling.. In 1788 the 
first regular system of taxation was adopted by the State. 

The first tax levied in Columbia county was in 1786, 
and was apportioned as : 

County Tax 

District T.ix. 




Manor Livingston 


German Camp 


The last 
which was as follows : 

id valuation was that of 1877, 

Towns akd Citv. 

Assessors' Valuation. 

Equalised Valuation. 

Value of Reiil 



Total Valua- 

No. of 

Price per 

Valuation of 
Real Estate. 


Total Equal- 1 
ilted Value. 














1,662,221 1 





























Hudson IstWird 

" 2d Ward 

" 4thAVard 

New Lebanon 

Taghkanio . ... 








Towns and City. 

C.unty and 
State Tax. 


Payable to School 


Payable to 

Payable to 
of Highways. 

Payable to 

Town K. 11. 

















Hudiion, I't Ward 

2d Waid 

3d Ward 

" 4 h Ward 



New Lebanon 








\ 37,367.23 



















































$25,628.59 j $5,393.05 $13,243.69 

1 ! 


» Smith's History of New York, p. 31. 

t Payable to oily treasurer. 



Over $450,000 has been paid in taxes for highway and 
bridge purposes since the organization of the county. The 
total taxes paid by the people of Columbia county since the 
organization of the county, exclusive of the city and school 
taxes of Hudson, and the taxes raised for school purposes 
in the school districts, are as follows, by decades : 

1786 to 1800 $101,570.26 

1801 to 1810 89,294.48 

1811 to 1820 281,156.43 

1821 to 1830 289,264.97 

1831 to 1840 316,968.66 

1841 to 1850 391,594.18 

1851 to 1860 738,.324.82 

1861 to 1870 2,714,734.99 

1871 to 1877 2,098,706.32 

Total $7,021,615.11 

The heaviest tax paid in a single year was in 1864, when 
the taxes amounted to $444,584.36; the next heaviest 
was in 1873, $347,708.32. The appropriations made by 
the board of supervisors against the tax of 1877 were as 
follows : 

For State tax $97,239.60 

nty bonds 8,932.1" 

suiiervisors, clerk, and doorkeeper. 


countj buildings, ins 
charities, including ] 
trust fund interest.... 
contingent fund 


Total $153,092.36 

The gross receipts by the county treasury for the year 
ending Nov. 27, 1877, were $250,198.89, including a bal- 
ance of $9,837.33 on hand from 1876. $161,380.95 was 
for taxes collected ; $26,695 from the sale of county bonds ; 
and $31,361.60 from the State school fund for distribution. 
$87,601.56 was paid to the State treasurer; $4800 for the 
insane asylum on the county farm; $12,985.81 for the 
support of the poor; $8498.90 to State charities; $12,465.- 
22 for expenses growing out of the courts ; $8500 for sala- 
ries. A balance was left on hand of $2016.86, and about 
$1500 was due from the towns for the year's unpaid taxes. 

Railroad corporations were taxed for the year 1878 as 
follows : 


5i,720 1,012.18 

....$3,705,699 $42,612.65 

; of the county is as fol- 

in County. 

New York Central and Hudson River $1,340,784 

New York and Harlem 567,200 

Boston and Albany 970,250 

Hudson Branch, Boston and Albany 629,850 

Harlem Extension ". 26,750 

Rhinebeck and Connecticut 178,145 

Poughkeepsie, Hartford and Boston 5i,720 


The present bonded indebtedn 

War bonds (extended), due March 1, 1883 and 
Canal debt, due March 1, 1879, 1880, and 1881 
Bonds issued on settlement of claims of State. 




Total $129,753 

Town indebtedness : 

Ancrara Railroad bonds $30,875 

Chatham " " $53,500, other purposes, $6000 59,500 

Oallatin " " 27,000 

Hudson war bonds, $39,500; water-supply, sewers, etc., 

$245,000; cemeteries, $4500 ; other purposes, $67,250 356,250 

Kinderhook 9,000 

Livingston 2,200 

New Lebanon Railroad bonds 100,000 

Chatham Village town hall 2,000 

Kinderhook Village town hall 5,000 


Total . 

The following is the statement of the amount of tax 
levied and assessed upon the incorporated companies in the 
county of Columbia for the year 1877: 

state Bank, Chatham 

Aqueduct Company, Hudson 

Hudson Paper Car Wheel Com- 
pany, Hudson 

Albany and Rensselaer Iron Works, 

Company, Hudson 
Clapp & Junes :\I;iii 

pany, Hudson 
Farmers' Nation . 

First National !• 

Hudson Cit.v > •. 

Albany Steamboat 


The Huilsun lias Company, llmlsun. 
The Hudson Iron Ouuipany, Hudson. 

The National Bank, Kinderhook 

The National Union Bank, Kinder- 







23,000 ' 




4,000 1 

Total I $355,400 81,486,896 










During the existence of the office of county excise com- 
missioner there was received into the county treasury from 
the excise tax or license the sum of $23,367. 


On the 18th of April, 1786, bills of credit to the amount 
of £200,000 (New York currency) were emitted by the 
State for the relief of the people, in the way of a circu- 
lating medium, and loaned to the different counties according 
to their population, and loan commissioners appointed in 
each county to manage and loan the same on real estate 
security at five per cent, per annum, the loan to run four- 
teen years and limited to £300 to any one person. These 
bills of credit were counterfeited, and in February, 1788, 
new bills were printed for those in circulation and the old 
ones retired, and a death penalty declared against all coun- 
terfeiters of the new issue. In 1796 another loan was 
made to the new counties, and in 1807-8 still another loan 
was made by the creation of a debt by the State, bonds 
being issued therefor and sold, and the funds arising there- 
from distributed pro rata among the counties on the basis 
of population, and commissioners appointed as before to 
handle the funds in each county. The amount received 
by Columbia county in 1792 was $40,325, and in 1808, 
$18,580, and was kept at interest as a separate fund until 
1850, when it was consolidated with the 


the principal of which was deposited in the county in 1837, 
and amounted to $100,298.54, and separate and distinct com- 
missioners appointed to loan the same. This deposit fund 
was the portion awarded to Columbia county from the sur- 
plus moneys in the United States treasury deposited with 
the several States by act of Congress of June 23, 1836, and 
the amount deposited with New York was, by act of the 
Legislature of April 4, 1837, distributed among the several 
counties according to their population. The loans from this 
fund are limited between $200 and $2000 to a single indi- 
vidual, except in New York, where the limits are $500 and 



$5000. The interest is charged at seven per cent., and 
the same paid into the State treasury, less fees and expenses 
of collection, and by the comptroller distributed among the 
counties for the support of schools and academies. 

The State loans were guaranteed by the board of super- 
visors, and after paying several losses, an order was passed 
to pay the principal back to the State as fast as the loans 
were paid in by the parties who contracted the same, and 
in 1S50, the amount remaining of the loans of 1792 and 
1808 was but $5510. Some portion of this fund is still 
running at interest on the original loans made in 1795. 
The amount reported on loan by the loan commissioners in 
November, 1877, was $69,013.70. Under the act of 1786, 
£22,000 was apportioned to Albany county, a portion of 
which was loaned to citizens in the territory now included 
in Columbia county. 



Culumbia Coiinly in the War of 1S12-15, and the Great Rebellion. 
WAR OP 1812 TO 1815. 

In the last war against Great Britain, in 1812 to 1815, 
Columbia county furnished a large number of troops (both 
volunteers and dratted men), though few of them saw ac- 
tual service under hostile fire. 

Of the military organizations existing in the county prior 
to that war we obtain some idea from an old brigade order, 
signed by Joseph Lord as brigade-major, and issued by 
command of Brig.-Gren. Samuel Ten Broeck, Aug. 10, 
1806, directing that a review and inspection of his brigade 
be held near the tavern of Jacob Moul, in Claverack, on 
the 2d of September in that year. The different commands 
mentioned in the order as composing the brigade were as 
follows : 

1. The regiment of infantry commanded by Maj. Robert 
T. Livingston, having attached to it the troop of cavalry 
commanded by Capt. Walter T. Livingston. 

2. The regiment of infantry under command of Lieut.- 
Col. Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer ; attached to which was 
the troop of horse commanded by Capt. Killian Hogeboom, 
and a company of artillery under Capt. Gilbert Jenkins. 

3. The infantry regiment of Lieut.-Col. Cornwell ; with 
Capt. John Whiting's troop of cavalry attached. 

The brigade was still under command of Gen. Ten 
Broeck at the opening of the war, and as to the commands 
composing it, we find reference to the 15th, 41th, 56th, and 
165th Regiments of infantry. In the 15th Regiment the 
following commissions were issued in April, 1814, viz. : 

Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant, John Shaver. 

Majors : First, Cyrus Capron ; Second, Ira Gale. 

Captains : Robert Elting, Joseph Hoot, John I. Ross- 
man, Elias Fingar, Hugh Knickerbacker. 

Lieutenants : Anson Gale, Jonas Lasher, John Kline, 
Frederick F. Stickle, John McKinstry, Jr., Charles Robin- 
son, Cornelius Washburn. 

Ensigns : Benjamin I. Miller, Jeremiah Best, Jacob P. 

Rockefeller, Jacob H. Teal, George Ellsworth, Henry H. 
Teal, Elisha Miner, Philip W. Rockefeller. 

Surgeon's-Mate : John T. Brodhead. 

And at the same time the following were issued for the 

Second Major, John Tibbifs. 

Quartermaster, John Lockwood. 

Captains: Henry P. Mesick, Isaac Ford, John Knox, 
Zadoc Knapp. 

Lieutenants : Ralph Tanner, Luther Chase, David Cham- 
berlain, Flavel Tiffany, Jakah Lawrence. 

Ensigns : Daniel Morehouse, Samuel Wise, William 
Stuart, Peter Downing, Amos M. Knapp. 

A list of commissions, issued about the same time, for 
the 165th Regiment, was as follows : 

Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant, Augustus N. Holly. 

First Major, Nicholas Robinson. 

Second Major, John Finch. 

Quartermaster, Philologus HoUey. 

Adjutant, Isaac B. Williams. 

Surgeon, Charles Suydam. 

Paymaster, Elisha Wilcox. 

Captains : Gideon P. Wolcott, John Stall, Teunis Race, 
Conrad I. Wilsey, Henry M. Hoffman, George I. Rossman, 
John A. Decker, Daniel Baker, Jr. 

Lieutenants : John C. Drum, Christian C. Shultz, David 
Langdon, Abraham Bain, Daniel Loughren, John B. Van 
Dusen, John T. Bresee, Cornelius S. Williams. 

Ensigns : Richard Townsend, Peter Silvernail, Ebenezer 
Finch, Robert Kline, Cornelius Washnian, Alvin Covey, 
James Conklin, John Kingman. 

For the 5th Regiment of cavalry we find commissions 
issued in 1813 and 1814 to residents of Columbia county, 
as follows : 

Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant, Walter T. Livingston. 

First Major, Henry Brown. 

Second Blajor, Reuben Ranney. 

Captains : Robert H. Van Rensselaer, John P. Mesick, 

First Lieutenants : Daniel B. Stranahan, Jeremiah Hoff- 

Second Lieutenants : Seth Mix, Adam Sagendorph, Wil- 
liam I. Johnson. 

Cornets : Aaron Beardsley, Amasa K. Center. 

The following is a copy of the " muster-roll of a company 
of volunteer cavalry under command of Captain Lodowick 
S. Babcock. Mustered into the service of the United States 
Aug. 25, 1812, for the term of one year, actual service, or 
for the term specified in an act of Congress passed Feb. 6, 

Lodowick S. Babcock, captain. 

John Ranney, first lieutenant. 

Royal Torrey, second lieutenant. 

G. R. Fitch, cornet. 

William Moore, sword-master (Nov. 20, 1812). 

Oliver W. Brewster, first sergeant. 

Abram P. Douglass, second sergeant. 

Henry Warner, third sergeant. 

Henry Budlong, fourth sergeant. 

Ovid Pinney, first corporal. 



Elijah Rich, second corporal. 

Hiram Frisbie, third corporal. 

Sylvanus Mott, fourth corporal. 

Wni. W. Watkins, saddler. 

Hampton C. Babcock, farrier. 

William P. Dexter, blacksmith. 

George Bristol, trumpeter. 

Privates. — Orrin Tickner, Bartholomew F. Pratt, James 
Peasly, Elial Benjamins, Benjamin Hutchinson, Lemuel 
Kilburn, Abram Ely, Philip Pitts, Ananias Hocomb, John 
C. Wilkinson, Palmer Watterman, Reuben B. Babcock, Mat- 
thew A. Lord, Isaac V. Marcelius, Thomas Wright, Daniel 
Davis, John Parks, George G. Simmons, Burton Munroe 
(Oct. 22, 1812), Jacob Halt, John Darling, George Bab- 
cock (waiter), John T. Baker, Peleg Kittle (died at Buf- 
falo, Dec. 5, 1812), Wheeler Lamphin. 

The above company, known as the " Governor's Guard," 
was largely composed ol' men from the northeastern part of 
the county, and its field of service during the war was on 
the frontier, in the vicinity of Niagara river. 

A regiment or battalion under command of Lieut-Col. 
Vosburgh, of Stuyvesant Landing, served from about Sep- 
tember, 1812, to March, 1813, on the northern frontier, at 
Cliateaugay, French Mills, and other points. Among Col. 
Vosburgh's company commanders were Capts. James War- 
ner, Ira Gale, and Jared Winslow. 

The " Light Infantry Battalion" of Lieut.-Col. (after- 
wards promoted to colonel and brigadier-general) Jacob R. 
Van Rensselaer was ordered to the defense of the city of 
New York about Sept. 1, 1814, and remained on that duty 
during its whole term of service, but had no occasion to 
participate in any engagement. Col. Van Rensselaer's 
second in command was Maj. John Whitbeck, and the bat- 
talion contained the uniformed company known as the 
" Hudson Greens," commanded by Capt. Barnabas Water- 
man ; a company of artillery — also from Hudson — com- 
manded by Capt. Elias Worden, and the infantry companies 
of Capts. Abraham L. Fonda, of Claverack ; llobt. Elting, 
Jr., of Clermont; Israel Holmes, of the southern part of 
the county; Henry Van Vleck, of Kinderhook ; and Wm. 
N. Bentley. The artillery was posted on Staten Island. 

A battalion under command of Col. John Van Dolfson 
was also in service at Brooklyn, for the defense of New 
York. Its term of service was four months, and the com- 
mand included among its companies those of Capts. Coon- 
rod J. Wiltsey, of Copake ; John Martin, of Claverack ; 

Joseph Lord, of Canaan ; and Cooper, of the soutli- 

ern part of the county. 

A company of one hundred and twenty volunteers, under 
command of Capt. William Jordan, marched from their 
rendezvous at Miller's tavern, above Kinderhook, in 1814, 
destined for Plattsburgh, but had proceeded only a small 
part of the distance when news of the battle reached them, 
and rendered their further advance unnecessary. Another 
company, under Capt. Henry P. Mesick, First Lieut. Chris- 
topher W. Miller, and Second Lieut. Ralph Tanner, marched 
for the same destination, where they arrived two days after 
the battle had been fought. In the naval battle fought 
on Lake Chaniplain by Commodore McDonough, Wm. A. 
Spencer, a native of Columbia county, and son of Judge 

Ambrose Spencer, served gallantly as a midshipman in the 
commodore's fleet, and was wounded upon that occasion. 

At the commencement of the war Gen. Scott marched 
through the county with a command of about seven hun- 
dred men, destined for service in the north, making his 
encampment for a night in the city of Hudson, on a spot 
of vacant ground near the present site of the court-house. 

For many of the above fticts relative to the movements 
of the Columbia county troops in the War of 1812 we 
are indebted to Wheeler H. Clarke, Esq., of Hudson. 


The part performed by the county of Columbia in the 
war waged from 18G1 to 1865, for the suppression of re- 
bellion and the preservation of the Union, was most honor- 
able and patriotic. At the receipt of the intelligence of 
the attack on Fort Sumter, in April, 1861, there were seen 
here the same demonstrations of loyalty to the Union and 
of determination to crush out treason at every hazard ; the 
same patriotic meetings and flag-raisings ; the same dispo- 
sition of young men to volunteer, and of old men to en- 
courage and aid them in doing so, as were found everywhere, 
in nearly every county throughout the Empire State. And 
when our armies melted away in the fervent heat of battle, 
and call after call was made for men to take the places of 
those who had fallen, there was shown here the same deter- 
mination to stand by the government at whatever cost; and 
the people and the local authorities with the same alacrity 
voted the moneys which were called for to accomplish the 
desired end. 

The troops from Columbia county who entered the ser- 
vice of the government during the War of 1861-65 were, 
as nearly as can be ascertained, as follows, viz. : 

Four companies (and parts of other companies) of the 
128th Regiment New York Volunteers, under Col. David 
S. Cowles, of Hudson,— ^three years' term of service. 

Three companies* (and part of another) of the 91st 
Regiment New York Volunteers, — three years' service, — 
commanded by Col. Jacob Van Zandt. 

Four companies (and a large portion of a fifth) of the 
159th Regiment New York Volunteers, under Col. Edward 
L. Molineux, — three years' service. 

One company of the 14th New York Volunteers, under 
Col. James McQuade. 

A large number of men from this county also entered 
and served in companies of the 44th, 48th, 93d, and 150th 
Regiments of New York Volunteer Infantry, as well as of 
the 1st, 2d, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 12th Regiments of Cavalry, 
and in the regular army and navy of the United States. 

For the names of those who entered the service from 
this county in New York State regiments, we refer the 
reader to the list printed at the end of this volume, copied 
from the rolls in the adjutant-general's office at Albany, 
and verified, corrected, and added to, in accordance with 
such information (deemed reliable) as we have been able to 
obtain from veterans of the war and from other sources. 

* It is not intended to state that every man in the companies men- 
tioned was of Columbia county, but that they were nearly all such, so 
that they were recognized and mentioned as Columbia companies. 



There were probably few from this county who served 
their country in the navy during the war, but among these 
few was Lieut. J. Van Ness Philip, of Claverack, of whose 
honorable career we elsewhere give a brief sketch. 

Below we give condensed historical narratives of the four 
regiments, the 12Sth, 91st, 159th, and 14th, which con- 
tained companies from Columbia county. 

THE 128tU regiment new YORK VOLUNTEERS. 

This regiment was raised in the counties of Columbia 
and Dutchess during the months of July and August, 1862. 
Four of its companies (A, E, G, and K) were contributed 
by Columbia, and six (B, C, D, F, H, and I) by Dutchess. 
The term for which its men enlisted was three years. 

The first movement in Columbia towards the formation 
of a company for this regiment was the issuance of a call, 
dated Hudson, July 23, signed by Edward Gilford, Gran- 
ville P. Haws, and John V. Whitbeck, asking for volun- 
teers. A company (afterwards designated as A of the 
128th) was completed within a few days, and the three 
other companies from the county were rapidly filled. 

On Saturday, Aug. 30, national and regimental colors 
were presented to the regiment at Camp Kelly,* in the pres- 
ence of about four thousand spectators and amid great en- 
thusiasm. One of the speeches made on that occasion was 
by the author of the " Field-Book of the Revolution," 
Benson J. Lossing, who said, " Soldiers, — Mothers, wives, 
sisters, and sweethearts have laid these objects of their af- 
fection upon the altar of their country as tokens of patriot- 
ism ; in their name I present you with the banner of our 
common country. This banner is the insignia of the Re- 
public, the symbol of our nationality. Take it ; bear it 
proudly ; defend it gallantly ; wave it triumphantly over 
field, and fortress, and town, and bring it back unsullied, 
with the glad tidings that it represents a redeemed, purified, 
and strengthened nation, whose every image of God is, by 
the law of the land, entitled to the inalienable right of life, 
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." 

On the 4th of September the men were mustered into 
the service of the United States, and on the following day 
the regiment, one thousand strong, under command of Col. 
David S. Cowles, embarked at Hudson on board the steamer 
" Oregon" for New York, whence they proceeded south by 
railway, arrived at Baltimore at five p.m. on the 6th, and 
bivouacked on Stewart's hill, where, on the 8th, they re- 
ceived their arms, ammunition, and shelter-tents, and after- 
wards marched to their camping-ground at Camp Millington. 

On the 10th of October the alarming intelligence was 
received that the cavalry general Stuart had invaded Mary- 
land and was pressing northward with a force estimated at 
three thousand men. Upon this the regiment received 
ordere to prepare to move immediately with two days' 
rations, and, on the 13th, at six a.m., they, as part of an 
expedition composed of several regiments of Gen. Wool's 
command, left Baltimore by the Northern Central railroad, 
and proceeded by way of Hanover to Gettysburg, where 
they arrived at nine P.M. There, upon a report that the 
enemy were advancing, their first line of battle was formed, 

* The fair-grounds at Iludson. 

and the men stood ready to face Gen. Stuart. But the time 
had not come for the hills of Gettysburg to become historic 
ground. On learning of the position of affairs there, the 
rebel general abandoned his raid in that direction and 
retired across the Potomac. 

The regiment left Gettysburg on the 14th of October, 
and, after a detention of two days at Hanover, caused by 
the breaking of a bridge, arrived at Baltimore on the 17th, 
and re-occupied their old ground at Camp Millington. 
Here they remained, perfecting their drill, but without 
notable incident, until Nov. 5, when orders were received 
to embark on the transport " Arago," to form a part of 
General Banks' famous expedition to New Orleans, though 
the destination was at that time unknown to regimental 
ofiicers or men. 

The ship did not sail until the 9th, when, at seven 
o'clock A.M., she left her anchorage and steamed down the 
Chesapeake. The day wa-s rough and uncomfortable, but, 
as the evening came on, the wind lulled and the surface of 
the bay was as smooth as that of their own placid Hudson. 
Away to the eastward the land could be dimly seen, but to 
the south and west there wa.-? only one wide stretch of 
flashing water, while from above the stars twinkled and the 
moonlight glittered on barrel and bayonet, and sparkled on 
the foam that bubbled in the wake of the ship. All were 
in good spirits, for the belief was general that their desti- 
nation was the harbor of Charleston. A young officer of 
the regiment, in a letter written home from the transport, 
said, " I believe we are going to Charleston. If I am to 
lose my life during the war, I would prefer to die fighting 
within sight of the battered walls of old Sumter." 

They arrived at Fortress Monroe on the morning of the 
10th, and on the 12th the " Arago" steamed up the Roads 
and lay ofi" Newport News, near the wrecks of the historic 
frigates " Congress'' and " Cumberland." On the 30th the 
regiment encamped near the ruins of the Virginian village 
of Hampton, but on the 2d of December they were ordered 
to strike tents and re-embark on the " Arago." Their 
surgeon, Dr. D. P. Van Vleck, died on board the ship 
Nov. 21, and during their tedious stay there, both on land 
and afloat, they experienced much hardship and a consider- 
able amount of sickness. 

In the afternoon of the 4th of December the " Arago" 
and other vessels of the expedition set .sail from Hampton 
Road.s, and it was now definitely known that their destina- 
tion was New Orleans, and that they were to form a part 
of the army of General Banks. 

During the nine days which they passed at sea, several 
deaths occurred ; among them being that of Lieut. Francis 
N. Sterling, of Co. D, who died Dec. 6, and on the follow- 
ing day was buried beneath the waters. 

The transport arrived at Ship Island on the 13th of De- 
cember. Here they met the steamer " Northern Light," 
having on board the 159th New York Regiment, of which 
a part was from Columbia county, and it may be imagined 
better than it can be told with what cheers and demonstra- 
tions of delight the two commands greeted each other. 
The " Arago" soon resumed her voyage, entered the South- 
west Pass on the morning of the 14th, and in the afternoon 
of the same day reached Quarantine Station, where the 


vessel was detained. On the 16th the regiment was dis- 
embarked, and quartered in a vacant storehouse, where 
they remained until the 5th of January, 1863, at which 
time they embarked on the steamer " Laurel Hill," and 
were transported to Camp Chalmette, upon the old battle- 
field of New Orleans, and about three miles below the city. 
The stay here was most disagreeable. The weather was 
cold and rainy, and the ground became so soft that it was 
barely possible to move from one tent to another. At this 
dismal place Lieut. Augustus U. Bradbury, of Hudson, 
contracted the disease which one month later terminated 
his life. His last camp duty he performed here, on the 
night of January 28, as officer of the guard, and on the 
evening of February 25 he died. '' I entertained," wrote 
Col. Cowles, " a very high opinion of Lieut. Bradbury as 
a perfectly reliable soldier under whatever circumstances." 
At his funeral the Rev. William S. Leavitt said, " He 
whom we have come to bury has finished his warfare, — 
prematurely, according to human judgment. But God 
sees not with our eyes, and judges by higher and wiser 
rules than we. ... It is but a few months since we saw 
him going forth with a thousand more, — fresh, earnest, full 
of patriotic fire, while our whole city thronged about them 
with its tears and farewells. We looked forward to the 
time — and it was ever in our thoughts, and present always 
to our hopes — when we should welcome him and them, 
returning again to the warm hearts and smiles of home, 
amid the rejoicings of victory and the blessings of re-estab- 
lished order and peace. 

' At last he comes, aw.aited long, 

Not to home welcomes long and loud ; 
Not to the voice of mirth and song,— 
Pale-featured, cold, beneath a shroud.' " 

On the 3d of February the regiment removed from 
Chalmette, a few miles, to Camp Parapet, where they re- 
mained iit guard and drill duty until the 18th of April, 
when the men were embarked on the steamers " Empire 
Parish" and " J. M.Brown," and proceeded across Lake 
Pontchartrain on an expedition to Fort Pike and Gaines- 
ville ; from which service they returned to camp on the 
22d, having captured one steamboat and a large amount of 
other rebel property. For this, their first achievement 
in the southwest, they were commended in general orders 
by Brig.-Gen. T. W. Sherman, under whose immediate 
command the expedition had moved. 

On the 12th of May another expedition was formed, 
and the 128th, with the 6th Michigan Volunteers, all un- 
der command of Col. Clark, of the latter, proceeded to 
Pontochoula, from which the enemy retired, and the place 
was occupied by our men until the 19th, when they re- 
turned to Camp Parapet. 

The siege of Port Hudson, which was one of the lead- 
ing objects of the Banks expedition, had now commenced, 
and on the 20th of May the brigade of which the 128th 
was a part, under command of Brig.-Gen. Neal Dow, em- 
barked on transports to join the main army. They landed 
on the 22d at Springfield Landing, about five miles below 
Port Hudson, whence, on the same day, they marched ten 
miles inland to the rear of the fortifications, and on the 
following day moved forward, an<^ were among the first to 

take possession of some of the outer works, from which the 
enemy withdrew to their principal defenses. 

Port Hudson is about twenty-five miles above Baton 
Rouge, on the east side of the Mississippi, upon a com- 
manding point, around which the river bends, forming 
almost a right angle. The strength of the position, natu- 
rally great, had been increased by all the devices of mili- 
tary science, until the enemy, with apparent reason, 
accounted it their Gibraltar. The forces defending the 
fortifications were under Jlaj.-Gen. Franklin Gardner, who 
had been assigned to that command on the 27th of Decem- 

The plans of the commanding general having been per- 
fected, on the 27th of May the troops moved forward to a 
general assault. The fire of the artillery was opened early 
in the morning, and continued unabated during the day. 
At ten A.M. the infantry, under Gen. Weitzel, attacked 
the right of the enemy's works. " On the left," said Gen. 
Banks, in his official report, " the infantry did not come up 
until later in the day ; but at two o'clock an assault was 
opened on the works on the centre and left centre by the 
divisions under Maj.-Gen. Augur and Brig.-Gen. Sher- 
man. The enemy was driven into his works, and our 
troops moved up to the fortifications, holding the opposite 
sides of the parapet with the enemy." 

The 128th New York formed a part of Sherman's divi- 
sion, which attacked the rebel left centre, and through all 
that lurid day Port Hudson saw no better fighting than 
was done by this command. 

A storming column, composed of the Columbia and 
Dutchess Regiment, the 6th Michigan, 15th New Hamp- 
shire, and 26th Connecticut, moved into the infernal fire 
with the steadiness of veterans, and carried a portion of 
the works by the bayonet ; but afterwards, by overwhelming 
odds and exposure to a flank fire, they were compelled to 
retire to a belt of woods ; though their skirmish line still 
held its position close under the fortifications. 

The record of the day was that of repulse and disaster 
to the Union forces, and of irreparable loss to the 128th 
Regiment in the death of their brave and beloved colonel, 
who fell early in the fight, and at the head of his com- 
mand. When within a few rods of a gateway which formed 
the entrance to the work, two balls struck him, one passing 
through his body from breast to back, and the other enter- 
ing his groin and pas.sing downward, giving the wound the 
appearance of a bayonet-thrust.* The wound was a mortal 
one, and he died in less than an hour. His last words 
were, " Tell my mother I died with my face to the enemy." 
His remains were brought home and interred with imposing 
solemnity on Monday, June 15, 1863. The funeral cor- 
tege was composed of delegations from the Masonic order 
of eleven different adjoining towns, the fire department. 
Col. Wright and staff of the 21st Regiment, members of 
the bar, Claverack cadets, etc. An appropriate eulogy was 
delivered by I. H. Reynolds, Esq., and a funeral discourse 
by Rev. W. S. Leavitt. The place of interment was the 
plot of ground just previously appropriated by the common 

* In Greeley's " American Conflict," as in some other accounts of 
this engagement, it was erroneously stated that Col. Cowles died 
from a bayonet wound. 



council for the burial of those who should fall in the ser- 
vice of their countiy. The memory of this gallant and 
patriotic officer will ever be cherished by the people of Co- 
lumbia county. 

A singular circumstance connected with his death is the 
fact that on the very day when the assault was made, while 
it was impossible that any news of it could have arrived, 
a report was started in Hudson (producing great excite- 
ment) to the effect that the regiment had participated in a 
terrible battle, and that Col. Cowles had fallen. 

On the day preceding the engagement, Capt. (afterwards 
Maj.) Edward Gifford, while in command of a party en- 
gaged in burning .some buildings in the immediate vicinity 
of the hostile lines, was captured by the enemy, and re- 
mained a prisoner in Port Hudson for thirty-nine days, but 
succeeded in escaping on the night of the 4th of July. In 
crossing a creek while attempting to regain the Union lines, 
he was carried by the current out into the Mississippi, 
where for four hours he battled with the swift waters and 
barely escaped with life, although an expert swimmer. He 
was rescued by some Indiana troops, and returned to his 
comrades, but the privations he had undergone, and the 
almost superhuman efforts put forth to regain his liberty, 
proved too much for his constitution, and although he re- 
ceived the tenderest care and attention from his brother 
officers and friends, he steadily sunk, and died in New 
Orleans on the 8th of August. His remains were brought 
to Hudson and buried with military honors. 

After the unsuccessful .issault of May 27 the whole 
brigade fell back under cover of some heavy timber, but 
still in range of the hostile batteries, the 128th being then 
under command of Major Keese. Here they remained till 
June 14, when another advance was attempted at the left, 
with similar result. In this engagement the loss of the 
regiment was much less than on the previous occasion. 
Among the wounded were Capt. George W. Van Slyck 
and Adj. J. P. Wilkinson. 

The Union forces now held their positions before Port 
Hudson until July 7, at which time Gen. Gardner sent a 
communication to Gen. Banks asking if the report of the 
surrender of Vicksburg was true, and if so, requesting a 
cessation of hostilities. Gen. Banks replied that Vicks- 
burg had surrendered to Grant on the 4th, and that under 
the circumstances he could not grant the cessation. To 
which Gen. Gardner responded proposing capitulation, 
which was soon agreed on, and on the morning of the 9th 
the rebel forces, consisting of about five thousand men, 
were surrendered, and the fortifications occupied by a small 
Union detachment selected for their bravery and discipline. 
One of the regiments so selected was the 128th New York. 
They had remained inside the works but two days, when 
they received orders to proceed to Baton Rouge, at which 
place they arrived, after a most fatiguing march, on the 12th 
of July. On the 15th they proceeded by transports to 
Donaldsonville, where the enemy was reported to be in 
great force. On the 14th of August they occupied the 
village of Plaquemine, and were there assigned to the 2d 
Brigade, Division, under Gen. Weitzel. On the 29th 
they were ordered to return to Baton Rouge. 

During the autumn of 1863 the followin"; officers of 

the regiment were transferred to the Corps d'Afrique : 
Capt. C. E. Bostwick, as major ; Capt. George Parker, as 
lieutenant-colonel; Lieut. Rufus J. Palen, as major; Lieut. 
T. E. Merritt, as captain. On the 1st of January the field- 
officers of the 12Sth were James Smith, colonel; James P. 
Foster, lieutenant-colonel ; Francis S. Keese, major. 

The regiment remained at Baton Rouge until March 2j5, 
1865, when the Red River campaign opened, and it joined 
the advance of Banks' Army Corps at Alexandria. Gen. 
Grover's Division, to which the 128th was attached, remained 
here while the rest of the army proceeded to Shreveport 
and fought the battles of Pleasant Hill and Mansfield, re- 
joining the main army at Grand Ecore. On the 20th of 
April this place was evacuated and the army fell back 
towards Alexandria. The battle of Cane River was fought 
on the 23d, and the 128th distinguished itself by making 
a decisive charge at a critical stage of the engagement, 
routing the enemy and capturing one officer and thirty men. 
Col. James Smith led the regiment in this charge, and was 
complimented by Gens. Birge and Grover on the skill and 
bravery displayed by officers and men. The losses were one 
killed and eleven wounded. During their stay at Alexan- 
dria the regiment received a new color, presented by the 
ladies of Columbia. In announcing this. Col. Smith said, 
" It is with feelings of pride and gratification that the 
colonel commanding announces officially that a new color 
has been received, intended as a gift from the ladies of 
Columbia county. . . . Many, whose loss we mourn, have 
fallen under the old colors. How many may fall while 
serving under the new no one can tell." 

Alexandria was evacuated May 11, Grover's Division in 
the advance. On the 16th and 17th the battle of Mansura 
Plains was fought, and on the 22d the army reached the 
Mississippi river. On the 27th three brigades, including the 
12Sth, returned to the Atchafalaya river to guard against 
a flank movement of the enemy, and after several days' 
skirmishing proceeded to Morganza, where they remained 
till July 3, when the regiment embarked on board the 
steamer " City of Memphis" and proceeded to Algiers, 
opposite New Orleans, where it encamped till the 20th. On 
that day it re-embarked on the " Daniel Webster," sailing 
under sealed orders, and arrived at Washington July 29. 
The day following it proceeded to Monocacy Junction, where 
the different regiments composing the 19th Corps were re- 
united and moved immediately to Halltown, near Harper's 
Ferry. Here Gen. Sheridan assumed command of the 
army of the Middle Military Division, to which the 19th 
Corps was now attached. 

On the 10th of August, Sheridan advanced against Early, 
then encamped at Winchester. Then followed the battles 
of Halltown, Berryville, Winchester, Fisher's Hill, and 
Cedar Creek, in all which the 12Sth was conspicuously 

At the three engagements of Winchester, Fisher's Hill, 
and Cedar Creek, between the 19th of September and 19th 
of, the regiment lost two hundred in killed, wounded, 
and prisoners. 

At the battle of Winchester five officers and sixty men 
were killed and wounded, among whom was Maj. F. S. 
Keese, who was severely wounded. 



At the battle of Cedar Creek, where Sheridan won such 
imperishable renown, Maj. Wilkinson, then captain and 
judge-advocate on Gen. Emory's staif, was wounded by a 
shot through the lungs while attempting to save the guns of 
a battery fiom capture. 

At Fi.shcr's Hill, the regiment, being deployed as skir- 
mishers, drove the enemy from a hill in front of the position 
with such impetuous gallantry as to win the applause of 
all their comrades who witnessed it, and elicit compliments 
from Gens. Sheridan, Emory, and Grover. 

In the mouth of August, Sheiidan requested Gen. 
Emory to detail one of his best regiments for headquarter 
guard. The latter directed Gen. Grover, commanding the 
2d Division, to comply with the order, and he designated 
the 128th hy name from the twenty-two regiments of his 
division for that purpose. It was kept on this duty until 
the army retired to Harper's Ferry. 

At the close of Sheridan's valley campaign, the 128th 
was one of the regiments chosen to garrison Winchester, 
where it remained until the Gth of January, 1865, when 
the whole division was ordered to Baltimore, and thence to 
Savannah by transports. 

On the 5th of March two brigades, including the 128th, 
left Savannah for Newbern, N. C, to assist in opening a 
base of supplies for Sherman's army. Immediately on ar- 
riving there the 128th was detailed by Gen. Schofield, com- 
manding the department of North Carolina, to repair the 
road connecting Newbern with Kinston. This labor occu- 
pied about three weeks, during which the men became 
familiar with the use of the axe and spade as well as the 

The regiment returned to Savannah on the 4th of May, 
and soon after marched to Augusta, where it was engaged 
in garrison and provost duty, when the order came to re- 
turn to Savannah, and there it was formally mustered out 
of service, dating from the 12th of July. 

On the 1 Gth it embarked on board the steamer " Charles 
Thomas'' for New York, reaching there on the morning 
of the 20th. In the afternoon of the same day the men 
were transferred to the steamer " Commodore" without 
leaving the pier. They reached Albany early on the fol- 
lowing morning, and went into barracks on the Troy road, 
whence, after receiving pay for their weary service, they 
disper.sed to their homes, and resumed the vocations of 
peaceful life. 

The 128th returned with/oHr hundred of the nine hun- 
dred and sixty men, and one hundred and seventy-three 
added by recruits. The officers at mustering out were as 
follows : 

Field and Staff. — Capt. Thomas N. Davis in command. 
Surg., J. M. Crawe; A,ssist. Surg., W. H. B. Post; Adj., 
A. B. Hart; Q.-M., S. H. Mase."^ 

Line Officers.— Co. A, Lieut. T. W. Krafft; Co. B, 
Capt. J. S. Pierce, Lieut. R. A. White; Co. C, 1st Lieut. 
J. H. Ilager, 2d Lieut. J. H. Asher ; Co. D, Lieut. J. 
Armstrong; Co. E, Capt. G. T. White; Co. F, Capt. C. 
R. Anderson, Lieut. C. Van Tine ; Co. G, Capt. H. E. 
Mitchell, Lieut. G. Murcll ; Co. II, Capt. H. H. Sinccrbox, 
Lieut. C. S. Keyes, Lieut. B. T. Ben,son ; Co. I, Lieut. J. 
Schoutcn ; Co. K, Lieut. B. Speed. 

The tattered battle-flag of the regiment bears the names 
of the following fields : 


HlimoX, MAY 27 AXD JUNE 14,1863, 







Soon after the war commenced, the Hon. David S. Cowles 
(afterwards colonel of the 128th Regiment) resolved to 
give up for his country his lucrative practice at the bar and 
go to the fiont, and, after consultation with his friends, de- 
cided, if possible, to raise a regiment from Columbia county, 
to be known as the Columbia County Regiment ; and in the 
month of July, 1861, with his friend, James Mulford, be- 
gan the work. He commenced recruiting in various parts 
of the county under the following captains : Charles A. 
Burt, at Kinderhook ; John B. Collins, at Hillsdale ; John 
I. Langdou, at Copake; and William H. Atwood, at Hud- 
son. As at this time the first burst of patriotism was dying 
out except in the breasts of those who were too old to be 
accepted, or were unable to go to war for other causes, and 
bounties had not been oifered, recruiting was very slow, and 
it was not until September that any of the companies were 
filled to the number of men required to be mustered in as 
a company, thirty-two enlisted men being required. On 
the 27th day of September, Capt. Atwood took his com- 
pany to Albany, and they were mustered into service at the 
barracks. On the next day Capt. Collins' company was 
mustered in ; and Sept. 30, Capt. Langdon's company. On 
this day (30th), Col. Cowles, finding it impossible to raise 
a full regiment in Columbia county, arranged with Capt. 
Allan H. Jackson, of Schenectady, who was having his 
company mustered in, to join his regiment, and also ar- 
ranged with Capt. Aaron J. Oliver to recruit a company in 
Albany and vicinity. October 15, Capt. Burt's company 
was mustered in, and soon after Capts. Oliver and Henry 
S. Hulbert with their companies went into barracks. Only 
seven companies out of ten were obtained, and none of them 
were full. At this time there was a part of a regiment in 
the same barracks, called the Albany County Regiment, being 
raised by Col. Fredendall, of Albany, and the most strenuou.s 
eiforts were put forth by the officers of each of these regi- 
ments to fill up the companies and regiments, that they 
might keep their distinctive organizations and field-officers, 
but they were unable so to do ; and an order coming from 
Washington to consolidate parts of regiments and send them 
forward as soon as possible, these two were consolidated and 
given their number as the 91st Regiment New York Vol- 
unteers. On the consolidation a great strife commenced as 
to the colonelcy between Jacob Van Zandt, then nominal 
lieutenant-colonel of the Albany Regiment, and Col. Cowles, 
of the Columbia County Regiment, which resulted in the 
appointment of the former. In the consolidation the most 
of the men from Columbia county were placed in Compa- 
nies E, II, and I, and some were assigned to Company K. 
The consolidation was efl'ected about Dec. 16, 1861, and 
the field-officers placed in command were : Col., Jacob Van 



Ziindt; Lieut.-Col., Jonathan Tarbell ; Maj., Charles Gr. 

The regiment, about nine hundred strong, having received 
a beautiful regimental color, the gift of Mrs. Harcourt, a 
patriotic lady of Albany, left camp at that city Dec. 20, 
1861, and proceeded to Governor's island. New York har- 
bor, where it was mustered into the United States service 
by Capt. Updegraff, U. S. A., Dec. 30. On Jan. 9, 1862, 
it embarked on the steamer " Ericsson," which set sail the 
following day for Key West, Fla., and arrived there ten 
days later. Here the regiment was armed with Enfield 
rifles, and remained in drill and routine duty until May 20, 
wlien it embarked for Pensacola, and reached there on the 
24th. Its first engagement with the enemy was at Gon- 
zales' Plantation, Fla., Oct. 27, 1862, on which occasion 
the conduct of men and officers was excellent. On the 27th 
of December the regiment left Pensacola by steamer, and 
on Jan. 1, 1863, arrived at Baton Rouge, La. 

At the opening of the campaign against Port Hudson, 
the 91st was assigned to a post of danger in engaging the 
enemy to draw his attention while the fleet passed the bat- 
teries ; and this service was well and bravely performed. 
Then the command returned to Baton Rouge, remaining 
there from the 19th to the 27th of March, at which time 
it embarked on steamer, and on the 28th arrived at Don- 
aldson ville, and thence took up its line of march for Thibo- 
deaux, ariiving April 2 ; left by rail for Bayou Bceuf, re- 
maining there several days. On the 12tli it embarked for 
Irish Bend (near Franklin), and was hotly engaged on that 
bloody field in the battle of April 14. On the next day it 
was again engaged with the foe at Vermilion Bayou, after 
having made a weary march of thirty-six miles through 
dust, fatigue, and almost intolerable thirst. The enemy 
retreated, and the 91st, with other troops, pursued. On 
the 21st it arrived at Opelousas. 

For about a month the regiment was almost constantly 
on the move in marchings, skirmishings, and expeditions 
for the seizure of cotton, until, on the 24th of May, it took 
its position before the enemy's works at Port Hudson, 
where it participated in the attacks made on the 25th and 
27th of May, as also in the furious and disastrous assault 
of June 14. From this time the regiment was on constant 
duty in the trenches until the capitulation of the enemy, 
July 8, 1868, and on the day following marched into the 
captured town. It sailed on the 11th for Donaldsonville, 
and there engaged the enemy in force on the 12th. On the 
29th of July the Olst left Donaldsonville for New Orleans, 
where it was paid off, a six months' arrearage, and laid in 
comparative quiet for nearly a month ; then, on August 29, 
it sailed for Brashear City, which point was reached Sept. 2. 

At Brashear most of the regiment re-enlisted as heavy 
artillery, and it was recruited to fill the ranks. In January, 
1864, it was removed to Fort Jackson, on the Mississippi 
river, and there remained on garrison duty till July 21, 
1864, when the portion who had re-enlisted received leave 
to return home on furlough. They returned by way of the 
river to Cairo, thence by railroad to Albany, N. Y. At the 
expiration of thirty days these men re-assembled at Albany, 
and proceeded in a body to Baltimore, where they were 
assigned to duty in the 8th Army Corps. This was about 

Aug. 25, 1864. They remained on garrison duty in Bal- 
timore for about one month, and were then relieved and 
ordered to join the 2d (Ironsides) Brigade, 3d Division, of 
the 5th Corps, commanded by Gen. Warren, and then on 
duty in front of Petersburg. They went through all the 
remainder of that bloody campaign down to Five Forks 
and Appomattox, and remained on duty in that neighbor- 
hood, after the surrender of the rebel army, for about three 
weeks, at the end of which time they marched across the 
country (a march of nine days) to Ai-lington Heights, 
opposite Washington, where they were disarmed, and were 
then transported by rail to New York, thence by steamer 
" John Brooks" to Albany, and there mustered out of the 
service ; a large number of the men having been in the 
field (excepting their thirty days' furlough) from the first 
year of the war until its 


This regiment was composed of men from Columbia and 
Kings counties, and was formed by the consolidation of the 
167th with the skeleton organization of the 159th. The 
companies were recruited during the months of August, 
September, and October, 1862, and on the 1st of Novem- 
ber in that year the regiment was mustered into the United 
States service,* at the Park barracks. New York city, by 
Lieut. R. B. Smith, of the 1 1 th Regular Infantry. It was 
then ordered under canvas at " Camp Nelson," New Dorp, 
Staten Island, whence, on the 28th of the same month, it 
moved to New York, where it was embarked on the United 
States transport " Northern Light," which, on the 4th of 
December, proceeded to sea under sealed orders. Her des- 
tination proved to be Ship island, in the Gulf of Mexico, 
and the regiment found itself assigned to duty with the 
Louisiana expedition under Gen. Banks. 

Without disembarking at Ship island the command pro- 
ceeded up the Mississippi river, arrived at New Orleans 
on the 15th of December, and was at once attached to the 
expedition about to move against Baton Rouge, under Gen. 
Cuvier Grover. It arrived at its destination on the 17th, 
and disembarked under the fire of the Union gunboats, but 
the enemy had already evacuated the town. 

On the 1st of January, 1863, it was assigned to the 3d 
Brigade of Grover's Division, commanded by Col. H. E. 
Payne (afterwards by Col. H. W. Birge), and saw active 
service immediately, being placed on duty at the United 
States arsenal. On the first demonstration against Port 
Hudson, March 14, it was sent, with a detachment of the 
26th Maine and two pieces of artillery, " to open, keep 
open, and hold the Clinton road, leading from Baton Rouge 
past the rear of Port Hudson, Clinton, and the rebel 
' Camp Moore.' " The whole force was under command of 
Col. Molineaux, of the 159th. 

s The field-officers of the regiment were Col. E. L. Molineux, Lt.- 
C"l. Gilbert A. Draper, Maj. Charles A. Burt. The Columbia county 
companies and their captains were as follows : Co. A, Capt. E. L. 
Gaul, afterwards promoted to major; Co. C, Capt. A. W. Gamwell 
(afterwards Capt. Charles Lewis); Co. E, Capt. Wm. E. Wallermire ; 

Co. G, Cnpt. Sluyter. Co. I was partly from this county. The 

first adjutant of the regiment was Lieut. Robert D. Lathrop, of 



Tlie duty was performed to the satisfaction of the com- 
manding general, and, on the 28th of March, the regiment 
embarked on the transport " Laurel Hill," and with the 
remainder of the division proceeded up Grand lake to 
Indian Bend. It was the second regiment to effect a land- 
ing, which it did under a severe fire of canister and mus- 
ketry. It was pushed across the Teche to Irish Bend, 
posted on a picket line almost within speaking distance of 
the enemy, and participated in the general engagement of 
the following day. In this battle (Irish Bend) the colonel 
was severely wounded, the lieutenant-colonel, adjutant, and 
two lieutenants killed, and two other lieutenants mortally 
wounded. The regiment lost one hundred and ten killed, 
wounded, and missing. 

On the 15th of April the regiment took its march up 
the Teche, reaching Vermilion Bayou on the 17th. On 
the 19th it was detailed to gather all stock and negroes on 
the prairies and plantations and drive them back to Ber- 
wick City, and on the way thither to destroy the enemy's 
works at Camp Bisland and Franklin. On the 29th it ar- 
rived at Berwick with eight thousand head of cattle, horses, 
and mules, and five hundred negroes. On the 30th the 
regiment rejoined the division, and marched, by way of Ope- 
lousas and Barre's Landing, to the vicinity of Alexandria, 
where it arrived May 12, halted two days for rest, and on 
the 14th resumed march for Simmsport, arriving May 17 ; 
the marches up to that time amounting to eight hundred 
miles. May 21 the command passed up the Atchafelaya 
by transport, landing at Bayou Sara, and marching thence 
to Port Hudson, where it arrived May 25. On the 27th 
the 159th, under command of Lieut.-Col. Burt, and sup- 
ported by the 25th Connecticut Infantry, attacked a portion 
of the enemy's works, which, however, proved far stronger 
than was anticipated, and too strong for capture. The regi- 
ment's loss in this attack was forty-seven. Then came 
nearly three weeks of severe duty in the trenches, and on 
the 14th of June the regiment participated in the furious 
assault on the works of the enemy, but retired at night 
unsuccessful, with a loss of twenty-eight. 

On the 11th of July, after the surrender, the 159th, 
with other troops, marched through the captured works, pro- 
ceeded by transport to Donaldsonville, and took part in the 
engagement of July 13. In the official reports of General 
Cuvier Grover and acting Brigadier-General Birge, of the 
2d Brigade, this regiment received most honorable mention 
for good conduct and gallantry in the engagement of Irish 
Bend, April 14, and Port Hudson, May 27 and June 14, 
18G3. From Donaldsonville the regiment went to Thibo- 
deaux, where it remained until the inauguration of the 
movement up Red river, when it proceeded to New Or- 
leans, and, crossing to Algiers, took steamboat for Alexan- 
dria. At Alexandria the regiment (then in command of 
Col. William E. Waltermire) remained with the rest of the 
brigade (Molineus's), holding the fortifications and guard- 
ing the flank of the operating army. At the end of about 
ten days they left for Morganza, where they remained some 
four weeks in camp, and at the end of that time left by boat 
for New Orleans, at which point they took steamer and pro- 
ceeded by sea to the James river, landing at City Point, 
i'rom whence they marched to the front of Petersburg, but 

returned in a few days to City Point, and there re-shipped 
for Wiishington. From that city they proceeded to Tenally- 
town, Md., and there remained about a week, when, upon 
orders to join Sheridan's army in the valley of Virginia, they 
marched by way of Rockville, Edwards' Ferry, the Luray 
valley, and Snicker's Gap (being a part of General Emory's 
Corps), and after a weary march reached the main army. 

They participated in the affair at Halltown, the battle of 
Winchester (in which they lost very heavily), Fisher's Hill, 
and Cedar Creek (Oct. 19, 18G4). At the close of the 
valley campaign they marched to Baltimore, and there 
shipped for Savannah, Ga., but at the end of about one 
month were transported by sea to Morehcad City, N. C., to 
assist in the forwarding of supplies to the army of General 
Sherman. After the surrender of the rebel army under 
Johnston, the 159th returned to Savannah, and were or- 
dered thence to Augusta, Ga., where they remained a few 
weeks, and proceeded by rail to Madison, Ga. At this 
point they remained until November, 1865, on provost 
duty, in the performance of which service their operations 
extended over five counties. In November, 1865, they were 
ordered to Savannah, and thence to New York, and were 
mustered out at Hart's island, having seen active service 
through nearly half of the rebel confederacy, from the Po- 
tomac river to the borders of Texas. 

The principal battle-fields of the 159th were Irish Bend, 
Port Hudson, Halltown, Va., Fisher's Hill, Winchester, 
and Cedar Creek. 

14th regiment new york volunteers. 

This regiment, which contained one company (K) of 
men from Columbia county, was mustered into the United 
States service for two years, at Albany, May 27, 1861. 

Under command of Col. James McQuade, the 14th left 
Albany on the 30th of that month, bound for Washington, 
where it arrived in due time, and camped at Camp Cam- 
eron, near Columbia College. On the 2 1st of July it 
crossed the Potomac by the Aqueduct bridge, encamped 
on the Virginia side, and remained in that vicinity, en- 
gaged in provost and picket duty, until March 10, when 
it moved to Fairfax Court-House. After five days' stop 
there the 14th moved to Alexandria, and there embarked 
for Fortress Monroe, arriving on the 23d of March, and 
camping beyond Hampton, on the road to Newport News. 

On the 4th of April, 1862, the men of the 14th struck 
tents and, as a part of the great army of McClellan, com- 
menced the memorable march up the Peninsula towards 
Richmond, halting in front of Yorktown for four weeks 
with the rest of the army. On the evacuation of that 
stronghold (as it was then supposed to be) by the enemy,